State Senator Creigh Deeds continues to recover from stab wounds he suffered yesterday at his home in Bath County. Police believe his 24-year-old son attacked the senator before taking his own life.
The emergency call came just after 7 a.m. Corinne Geller, who speaks for the Virginia State Police, said there was an attack at Deeds home in rural Millboro.
Senator Deeds and his son had an altercation at the Deeds residence. Deeds was stabbed multiple times about the head and upper torso.
Deeds was able to leave the scene on foot and as he was coming down the hill or his residence, towards Route 42, he encountered a cousin who lives nearby.
Senator Deeds was then transported by ambulance to a nearby relative’s farm, where Carillion Lifeguard 12, which is out of Rockbridge County, was able to land and transport the injured senator to the University of Virginia Medical Center.
Paramedics also went to Deeds’ home where his son, Gus, shot himself and died. He had been evaluated by mental health professionals on Monday but no psychiatric bed could be found in western Virginia, so he was sent home.
Mira Signer, who heads the Virginia office of the National Alliance on Mental Illness is not surprised.
“Mental health funding in Virginia has really been on a roller coaster. After the Virginia Tech tragedy happened, the legislature swiftly moved to allocate a little more than $40 million in new funding, but then when the recession hit, a lot of that funding was taken away in budget cuts.”
She says better funding of community alternatives could free up beds at psychiatric facilities for people who urgently need in-patient care.
“You know they shouldn’t have to wait one day, two days, three days. You know we don’t ask people who are having a heart attack to come back in two days. That’s unheard of.”
Signer stresses that most people with mental illness are not violent, and she hopes the tragedy surrounding the Deeds family will lead the legislature to assess the need for more funding and take action.