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Creigh Deeds blames Va. agency in son’s violent breakdown, suicide

(CNN/WTVR) — Virginia State Sen. Creigh Deeds, who was stabbed multiple times by his son, said he will work to change how mental health services are delivered so that “other families don’t have to go through what we are living.”

Deeds’ son, Austin “Gus” Deeds, committed suicide after the fight.

“I hope we can make a positive change as a result of this tragedy,” Deeds told The Recorder, a newspaper based in Monterey, Virginia.

“I think there may be a bigger problem here. I am alive for a reason, and I will work for change. I owe that to my precious son,” he said.

The stabbing came one day after Deeds’ son was taken to a hospital under an emergency custody order. Police confirmed that Gus Deeds, 24, was brought in by the local sheriff for evaluation by mental health professionals.

The young man was released after the evaluation because no open psychiatric bed could be located across a wide area of western Virginia, Dennis Cropper, executive director of the Rockbridge Area Community Services Board, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Cropper declined to comment on the specifics of the case but said not finding a bed was unusual for his agency.

CNN later learned that at least three Virginia hospitals had psychiatric beds available the day before the stabbing and suicide.

Officials at Western State, Rockingham Memorial and UVA Charlottesville hospitals said beds were available, but they had not been contacted by medical personnel who evaluated the younger Deeds.

The hospitals are within an hour or two from Bath County, where the incident occurred, but it was unclear whether those who had the initial contact with Gus Deeds reached out only to hospitals closer to Bath County.

“I cry a lot. I can’t focus now and talk to anyone,” Deeds told The Recorder. “I have very strong opinions about the CSB and feel like they are responsible. My life’s work now is to make sure other families don’t have to go through what we are living.”

CBS 6 reporter Joe St. George spoke with Mary Ann Bergeron, Executive Director of the Virginia Association of Community Services Boards, Tuesday.

This was Bergeron’s first on camera interview since the incident.

“Do you feel as though CSB’s are responsible?” St. George asked.

“I am not prepared to answer a couple of those questions but I am prepared to tell you we are heartsick at what happened and we just have the deepest sympathies for the senator and his family,” Bergeron said.

“There are two possibly three investigations going we know that they will be detailed and we are hopeful they will be able to provide insight into what happened,” Bergeron said.

Deeds, 55, is well-known in Virginia political circles. A Democrat, he ran unsuccessfully for attorney general in 2005 and for governor in 2009, both times against Republican Bob McDonnell, who is now Virginia’s governor.

He was released from the hospital on Friday, three days after he was stabbed more than 10 times in the head and neck.

CNN’s Dave Alsup, Ray Sanchez and Rose Arce contributed to this report.

The-CNN-Wire
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6 comments

  • Manalishi

    Same government failure that gave us the VA tech shooter. As usual, no one in gov will ever admit their failure to do the basics. Then they claim sovereign immunity and appeal until they get an activist judge willing to cast we the people to the breeze.

  • Concerned

    It is not unusual to have a mentally ill person evaluated and they are either denied services or a bed can not be located . If they are denied they are referred for outpatient which could take weeks to obtain an appt .

  • Becky

    Never miss a Crisis Opportunity to attempt to kill two Agenda birds with one stone..
    Facilities and beds were available from other sources but this is
    pure Politics now. Use and Abuse by party for personal and political gains, and advantages. It’s the preferred form of governance, labeled as Correct. Careful. The new Uncivil Society might be seen as Mentally Ill with all their publicized outrages, rants, hysterics, hate, aggression intensity and hostility with antagonism.

  • Debbie

    Seems like the father could have gotten his son private help outside of the system. He has the money and resources to do that.

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