updated 11/19/2013 AT 4:15 PM ET
•originally published 11/19/2013 AT 11:45 AM ET
Virginia state senator and former gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds is in fair condition after being stabbed by his son on Tuesday.
The senator had been hospitalized in critical condition after an incident at his home on Tuesday morning that left his son, 24-year-old Austin Creigh “Gus” Deeds, dead of a gunshot wound.
“Bath law enforcement and rescue personnel responded around 7:30 this morning to a report of a shooting and stabbing on Vineyard Drive, off Route 42, in Millboro, with two male victims – one with multiple stab wounds to the shoulder and torso; another with a gunshot wound to the head,” The Recorder reported.
Sen. Deeds, 55, was stabbed “numerous times about the head and upper torso,” state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said during a news conference. “We are looking at this as an attempted murder and suicide.”
State police Sgt. Mike King told the Roanoke Times that Gus died of an “apparent” self-inflicted gunshot wound. Deeds was stabbed multiple times before he walked down a private drive and onto a highway, where he was picked up by a cousin who lives nearby. He was airlifted to hospital from the cousin’s farm.
The senator’s son had been evaluated by mental health professionals on Monday under an emergency custody order, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. He had been released because no psychiatric bed could be located.
“This is a terrible tragedy,” Del. David J. Toscano, D-Charlottesville, said in a statement. “Senator Deeds was very close to his son Gus, and has taken herculean efforts to help him over the years.”
Deeds, a former Bath County prosecutor, was elected to the House of Delegates in 1991 and to the state Senate in 2001, in a special election after the death of Emily Couric. He ran for attorney general in 2005, but lost to Republican Bob McDonnell.
The margin of victory was fewer than 400 votes out of nearly 2 million cast. Deeds and McDonnell squared off again in 2009 in the race for governor after Deeds defeated Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran in the Democratic Party, but Deeds lost.
Deeds, a rural Democrat who drafted a constitutional amendment guaranteeing Virginians’ right to hunt, long enjoyed support from the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights advocates.