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Scars visible on Sen. Deeds face as he opens up about attack

(WTVR) — State senator and former gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds says Virginia’s mental health system failed his son, Gus.

In his first television interview since the senator was attacked in November by his adult son, who then took his own life. Deeds opens up about the the traumatic experience that could mean big changes in how the state treats the mentally ill.

The deep scars are visible on Senator Deeds face, but you can also hear the pain in a father’s voice, one who now lives with the feeling that he couldn’t get his son the help he needed.

After Gus Deeds’ 21st birthday, his father says his son became delusional. The young man who was on the dean’s list and played the banjo became increasingly erratic and was diagnosed as bi-polar.

In November, Deeds tried to find his son an open bed in a psychiatric hospital, but a state law designed to protect patients only kept the court order to have him committed good for six hours.

Deeds opened up to CBS News anchor Scott Pelley about what happened next.

“I didn’t know what was gonna happen. But, the next mornin’, you know, I felt like there’d be a confrontation but I didn’t I had no reason to think there’d be violence. And– but– but, you know, I– I– I got ready for work and i went out to the barn to feed the horses and Gus was comin’ across the yard and he was– I said, “hey, bud, how’d you sleep?” he said, “fine.” I turned my back and, you know– I turned my back. Had this feed thing in my hands, and– and he was– just on me.

“He attacked you?” Pelley asked.

“Twi– he– he– he got me twice, you know, stabbed me twice. “

Senator Deeds was able to walk down the road in front of his home in Bath County where a neighbor found him and called 911. Moments later, Gus shot himself.

Deeds is promising to work the rest of his life in improving mental health care options for not only Virginia, but across the country.

“I really don’t want Gus to be defined by his illness. I don’t want Gus to be defined by what happened on the 19th. Gus was– was a great kid. He was, he was perfect son. It’s clear the system failed. It’s clear that it failed Gus. It killed Gus.”

Watch “60 Minutes” Sunday at 7 p.m. for Scott Pelley’s full report.

6 comments

  • Dustin Cavanaugh

    I am clinically diagnosed Bipolar Type 1, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, ADHD, Dysgraphia, motor tic, and a personality disorder. I am a Computer Science major at J Sargeant Reynolds Community College. I was diagnosed as a juvenile with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (which generally manifests into some other personality disorder as a child becomes an adult). I am a felon for assault on a law enforcement officer. 2 offenses. first offense I was on the mental health docket. Second I got a felony as my lawyer did not even mention the mental health issues (public defender) I called RBHA in July. I am with the daily planet but I do not trust the staff. Reviews of my psychiatrist online have him ranked 2 out of 5 with his staff making more points than he did. RBHA told me they would call me back within a few months. I was with RBHA from the age of 12 until I went to jail. They never called me back. I called them back and left messages not being able to get a hold of anyone, eventually they got back with me last month (As I said I originally called and even went in and filled out paper work in July) and then apologized and said they would contact me within a few days. Still no word. Often my mental health issues are not taken seriously because I am a “highly functional case” aka I am intelligent and not the stereotype person suffering from retardation so they don’t take it seriously. How many school shooters were stupid? Was Gus Deeds stupid? Why do you want me to be stupid to help me? I shouldn’t have to go stab someone before you idiots listen.

    • Dustin Cavanaugh

      Add to that I have no family and my foodstamps were dropped 30 bucks and my SSI (yes I am on disability for these issues and trying my hardest to overcome so I don’t have to continue but these idiots make it difficult) was only raised 10. I have eaten twice in the past 3 days because I cannot afford food. I drive a scooter to school because I couldn’t afford the bus (1.50 each way is 3 dollars one place and back. 3 dollars gets me all over the city for over a week on my scooter) and I worked my butt off to be able to pay for that scooter and luckily managed to pay a little at a time. Kind of hard to move forward and go to school and get ahead when I have homework I can’t even focus on because I am starving. Want to complain I should get a job? I should go to school? You try doing either of those things on little to no food. You try taking care of yourself on 670 a month in Richmond, while going to school, having to get around, and having to deal with these idiots who refuse to help even though I HAVE INSURANCE. I can’t imagine if I didn’t. I feel bad for those who don’t. Our local government and organizations are run by buffoons.

      • Toni Rowmosuks

        I am not positive about this, but I believe that if you are on disability you qualify for a free bus pass…good luck

  • Dustin Cavanaugh

    Toni no. Medicare people last I checked get a discount. Medicaid (on SSI we get medicaid because we have no resources, SSI is even poorer than SSDI) and medicaid people get no discount despite having less funding. I went to school today like I always do. I haven’t eaten today, I ate a 77 cent pot pie yesterday lol. I called RBHA back yesterday. Again they apologized and I was promised a call back. No call back. I got the supervisors number, now I am starting to record these calls.

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