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UVA Student Groups Hold Vigil for Creigh Deeds - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

UVA Student Groups Hold Vigil for Creigh Deeds

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Senator Creigh Deeds remains in good condition at the University of Virginia Medical Center Thursday night. And while he’s on his road to recovery, students at the University of Virginia held a vigil for him.

The students gathered in the amphitheater to offer prayers and support for Deeds. The group sent a clear message, wishing the senator a speedy recovery.

Just days after tragedy struck in Deeds’ home, student political groups at UVA typically separated by issues - College Republicans and University Democrats - came together to organize the vigil.

"We all love Deeds. We've all met him before and we just felt a responsibility to just do something,” said Haley Swartz, a member the University Democrats.

Investigators say the 55-year-old senator was stabbed several times by his son Gus Tuesday morning at his home in Bath County. Gus then shot and killed himself with a rifle. In light of such a tragedy, both groups say this is a time where political lines are set aside.

"Yeah, we're opposed politically but when it comes to human nature we're very concerned with tragedies that have occurred,” said Matt McClure, a member of the College Republicans.

"We're here as people that he represents in the state Senate and not as Republicans or Democrats," said Kate Gaziano, another member of the College Republicans.

Students signed a card, many wishing him a speedy recovery and support. Representatives for Delegate David Toscano and Congressman Robert Hurt read statements asking people to continue to pray for Deeds and to respect his family's privacy.

It’s a hard time for both the senator's family and his community.

"It's a tragedy for the entire Charlottesville community as well as his entire district,” Swartz said.

Both of the groups plan to deliver the card to Deeds in the hospital.

Statement Read by Delegate David Toscano:

On behalf of the Deeds family, I wish to offer their thanks for the outpouring of support, prayers, and concerns during this challenging time. The family wishes to report that Senator Deeds continues to improve day-by-day and intends to resume his role serving his constituents as quickly as he can. The family hopes that citizens will respect their privacy as they grieve the loss of Gus and attempt to recover from the tragedy of Tuesday, November 19.

We join tonight to grieve, to pray, and to rededicate ourselves to helping our families, friends, and neighbors, who experience pain in their lives and who need our support.

We grieve for the family of Gus Deeds – his sisters, Amanda, Susie, and Rebecca; his mother, Pam; and his father, Creigh, and Creigh’s wife, Siobhan. We pray, not only for them, but for Gus, a young man who was like many of you – smart, capable, engaged in life, with so much promise before him. We struggle to comprehend what is impossible to understand. And we search for deeper meaning – for the family and for ourselves.

We pray for the Deeds family, who so dearly loved Gus, and who struggled privately and mightily to help their son and brother in the face of obstacles that ultimately proved insurmountable. We pray that God gives Senator Deeds the strength to recover not just from the physical wounds, but from the pain of this terrible loss.

We hope that the community -- local, state, and national -- gives the Deeds family the space, respect, and privacy that they need during this difficult time.

This tragedy will be like so many others and become a public issue. I hope we can use it to dedicate ourselves to the task of improving a mental health system that failed this young man at a critical moment and requires careful attention so it will not fail others in the future.There may be a tendency to jump quickly to policy solutions – and those may be necessary. But as we search for ways to improve things, let us remember that this is first and foremost a family tragedy, and let us respect the fact that they need to find their own way – to find their own peace.

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