(CNN) — A top Virginia politician lay in a Charlottesville hospital with multiple stab wounds Tuesday evening after what state police called a fight with his son, who appears to have killed himself shortly afterward.
A cousin found state Sen. Creigh Deeds, the 2009 Democratic nominee for governor, walking down a road near his home Tuesday morning, bleeding from multiple stab wounds to his head and chest, state police reported. State troopers who came to Deeds’ home in Millboro, about 150 miles west of Richmond, then found 24-year-old Austin “Gus” Deeds with a gunshot wound, Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said. The troopers were unable to save him.
“Based on the evidence we have, we are looking at this as an attempted murder and suicide,” Geller told reporters Tuesday afternoon. No one else was in the house at the time of the altercation, and investigators are not seeking any other suspects, she said.
Deeds’ cousin called 911 and took the senator to a nearby farm, where a helicopter airlifted him to the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, Geller said. His condition was upgraded from critical to fair Tuesday afternoon, spokeswoman Angela Taylor said.
The senator was able to talk with investigators before he was flown to the hospital and afterward, Geller said.
Deeds, 55, is well known in Virginia political circles. A Democrat, he ran for attorney general in 2005 and for governor in 2009, both times against Republican Bob McDonnell, who is now Virginia’s governor.
Gus Deeds withdrew from The College of William & Mary last month after being enrolled off-and-on since 2007, according to a statement from the school. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Tuesday that he had been given a mental health evaluation under an emergency custody order Monday but was released because no 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 newspaper.
Geller said she was unable to comment on that report, citing medical privacy laws.
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