Deputies called to Creigh Deeds' home day before fatal fight, Virginia police say

Mental healthcare at fault in stabbing?
Mental healthcare at fault in stabbing?

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Story highlights

  • Sheriff's deputies were called to Creigh Deeds' home on Monday, state police say
  • A police source said Deeds' son was taken to a hospital for evaluation
  • Three hospitals tell CNN they had psychiatric beds available Monday
  • The Virginia state senator was stabbed more than 10 times, sources say

Sheriff's deputies had been called to the home of Virginia state Sen. Creigh Deeds a day before the fight that left his son dead and the veteran politician with multiple stab wounds, investigators reported Wednesday.

Deputies responded to a "nonemergency call for assistance" at Deeds' home in Millboro, in the rural western part of the state, on Monday, Virginia State Police said. The deputies made no arrests, and no charges were filed, the agency said.

A police source confirmed that Deeds' son, Austin "Gus" Deeds, was taken to a local hospital under an emergency custody order for an evaluation by mental health professionals. The following morning, Deeds was stabbed multiple times during a fight with his 24-year-old son, who then shot himself with a rifle, according to autopsy results state police disclosed Wednesday.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Tuesday that the younger Deeds had been given a mental health evaluation under an emergency custody order. But Dennis Cropper, executive director of the Rockbridge Area Community Services Board, said that Austin Deeds had been released because no psychiatric bed could be found for him across a wide area of western Virginia, the newspaper reported. But three hospitals in the area told CNN Wednesday that they had beds available, and no one called them. All three are within an hour or two of the Deeds family home in Millboro, about 150 miles west of Richmond.

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Police: "attempted murder & suicide"
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Virginia law requires doctors to find a bed for a patient under an emergency custody order within four hours or release them.

Sources close to the investigation told CNN that Deeds, the 2009 Democratic nominee for governor, was stabbed more than 10 times. He was in good condition Wednesday afternoon the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville.

A cousin found the bleeding lawmaker walking down a road near his home after the fight and called for help, state police said. State troopers who went to Deeds' home found Gus Deeds suffering from a gunshot wound and were unable to save him, state police said Tuesday.

The incident stunned the political community in Virginia, where Deeds is a well-known lawmaker who ran for attorney general and governor.

The man who defeated him in both races, current Gov. Bob McDonnell, called Tuesday's events "heartbreaking."