Virginia state Sen. Creigh Deeds, a Democrat who rose to be gubernatorial nominee in 2009 despite his reserved demeanor and humble farmland roots, was stabbed early Tuesday, apparently by his son, police said.
Gus Deeds, 24, was found at his father’s house in rural western Virginia, dead from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said.
Authorities still were piecing together a motive and the circumstances that led up to the stabbing, but “we’re leaning towards it being an attempted murder/suicide,” Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corrine Geller said at an afternoon news conference. She said that finding wasn’t yet definitive.
Creigh Deeds, 55, and his son were the only people at the home Tuesday morning. Police were not looking for a suspect.
Deeds was able to walk about 75 yards away from his home in Millboro, despite stab wounds in his head and chest, police said. He was in fair condition at a hospital.
Police recovered a gun at the home, but Geller would not provide details about it. She also wouldn’t say what the senator was stabbed with.
She said police have been able to talk with the senator but wouldn’t reveal what he has said.
Deeds made his first bid for statewide office in 2005 when he ran for attorney general and narrowly lost to Bob McDonnell in the general election. Four years later, McDonnell beat Deeds again — this time in the race for governor — though it was by a much wider margin.
During the race for governor, Deeds’ style was somewhat unorthodox. He would listen intently to people and their worries, but rarely did he engage in lengthy conversations on the campaign trail, seemingly almost reluctant to impose on people’s time. He said then he didn’t think Virginia voters were won by style points, drawing a contrast to McDonnell.
In the 2009 race for governor, Deeds defeated Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran in the Democratic primary, then squared off with McDonnell again in the general election. This time he lost badly.
Gus Deeds is one of the senator’s four adult children. He was studying music at the College of William and Mary, where he had been enrolled off and on since 2007, but withdrew last month, school spokesman Brian Whitson said. The college said he had a strong academic record. It did not say why he left.