Sen. Creigh Deeds Talks About Stabbing, Son's Suicide

Sen. Creigh Deeds Talks About Stabbing, Son's Suicide
Sen. Creigh Deeds
Joe Mahoney/The Richmond Times-Dispatch/AP

updated 01/24/2014 at 02:00 PM EST

originally published 01/25/2014 02:50PM

Still bearing the scars on his face, Sen. Creigh Deeds is speaking for the first time about being stabbed by his son in an emotional interview on 60 Minutes airing Sunday.

The Virginia state senator was attacked by his mentally ill son, Gus, 24, on Nov. 19. Gus later committed suicide.

Deeds describes Gus, a talented musician who was diagnosed as bipolar at the age of 21, as "a great kid" and "a perfect son," CBS News reports.

"I really don't want Gus to be defined by his illness," Deeds, 56, says. "I don't want Gus to be defined by what happened on the 19th … It's clear the system failed. It's clear that it failed Gus. It killed Gus."



Last November, fearing that his son would kill himself, Deeds got a court order and sheriff's deputies took Gus to an emergency room. Once he was there, authorities searched for an open bed in a psychiatric hospital, but by the time the court order expired after six hours, a bed couldn't be found and Gus had nowhere to go but home.

Deeds was worried "there was going to be a crisis … I felt like there'd be a confrontation, but I didn't – I had no reason to think there'd be violence."

The next morning he got ready for work and went out to the barn to feed the horses.

"Gus was coming across the yard," Deeds remembers. "I said, 'Hey bud, how'd you sleep?' He said, 'Fine.' I turned my back … and he was just one me."

Gus stabbed his father. "He got me twice," Deeds says. The attack continued and Deeds was stabbed 10 times in the head and torso.

A neighbor found Deeds and as he was taken to the hospital, Gus shot himself with a rifle and died.

After the attack, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell ordered a review of the state's mental-health services. Deeds has returned to the senate, where he's introduced legislation to extend the length of emergency custody orders to 24 hours and create a computer database to list every open psychiatric bed statewide.

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