Virginia lawmaker's son shot himself with rifle: autopsy

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 20, 2013 7:31 PM

By Gary Robertson

RICHMOND, Virginia (Reuters) - An autopsy on the son of a prominent Virginia politician has confirmed that the gunshot that mortally wounded him was self-inflicted and was fired from a rifle, police said on Wednesday.

Democratic state Senator Creigh Deeds, who ran for governor in 2009, was stabbed multiple times in the head and torso at his home in Bath County on Tuesday. His son Austin "Gus" Deeds, 24, was killed by a gunshot wound in the western Virginia home, Virginia State Police have said.

State police said in a statement that the autopsy in Roanoke showed Gus Deeds was killed by a rifle but gave no details about the weapon. They also have recovered the weapon believed to have been used to stab Deeds, it said.

Authorities said the type of weapon would not be released until investigators confirmed whether it was used in the attack. Police are investigating the incident as an attempted murder-suicide.

Creigh Deeds's condition was upgraded to "good" from "fair," a spokesman for the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville said.

State police said an altercation between Deeds and his son occurred outside the senator's home in Millboro, about 100 miles west of Richmond. The son was found wounded inside the residence and later died.

The Bath County Sheriff's Office responded to a non-emergency call at Deeds's home on Monday, but no arrests or charges were made, state police said in a statement.

They declined to comment on newspaper reports that Deeds' son had undergone a psychiatric evaluation on Monday, but attempts to have him hospitalized had failed because no psychiatric beds were available in the region.

The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that three hospitals within two hours of Bath County had beds available.

Officials for the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, have said Gus Deeds, a music student at the college, dropped out about a month ago.

(Reporting by Gary Robertson; Editing by Ian Simpson and Andrew Hay)