Deeds Blames Mental Health System for Son's Death

Posted: Updated: Dec 09, 2013 06:16 PM

Less than a week after what authorities are calling an attempted murder/suicide at a Virginia senator’s home, Creigh Deeds is speaking out.

Deeds is recovering after his son, Gus, stabbed him multiple times and then shot himself with a rifle last Tuesday at the Deeds’ Bath County home. Deeds is now blaming Virginia’s mental health system for the death of his son.

Close friend of the Deeds family and Virginia House of Delegates Democratic Leader David Toscano says Deeds is improving physically. Toscano also says Deeds plans to be at the General Assembly session in January - ready to change the state's mental health care system.

According to the Richmond Times Dispatch, on Monday Deeds told Monterey newspaper, The Recorder, "I have very strong opinions about the CSB (community services board), and feel they are responsible."

The Rockbridge Area Community Services Board released Gus from an emergency custody order (ECO), citing a lack of psychiatric beds, on Monday, November 18. Thirteen hours later, Gus stabbed his father multiple times and then took his own life.

Deeds also told The Recorder, "I am alive for a reason, and I will work for change. I owe that to my precious son."

"They are very powerful words, but I think they're hopeful words, because it shows me that he's going to take an event that is very, very tragic and try to use it as a vehicle for change,” said Toscano.

Toscano says can't say what led up to the attempted murder/suicide, nor why the Bath County Sheriff's Office responded to Deeds' home the day before. The Sheriff’s Office confirms deputies were called to the Deeds' home the morning of November 18 for a non-emergency call for assistance. No arrest was made and no charges were filed at that time.

"I know that he's worked very hard with his son to address some of the problems that they've experienced over time. He loved his son and cared a great deal for his son and tried to help him as best he could,” said Toscano.

Deeds also told The Recorder "My life's work now is to make sure other families don't go through what we are living."

"I think the biggest challenge is, as you might imagine, is what he's feeling in his heart and that loss of a son who was very, very important and precious to him,” said Toscano.

Two investigations are currently underway - one by Virginia State Police on the incident, and the other by order of the governor's office on why Gus was released last Monday.

Toscano says he expects Deeds to be in Richmond when the General Assembly convenes in January. Together they will work to make changes statewide.

Editor Note: Full stories from The Recorder are available to online subscribers only; to read Richmond Times Dispatch's full coverage, click here.

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