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'I Am Alive For A Reason,' Says Va. Lawmaker Stabbed By Son

Virginia State. Sen. Creigh Deeds in 2010.
Steve Helber
Virginia State. Sen. Creigh Deeds in 2010.

Saying he is "alive for a reason and I will work for change," Virginia state Sen. Creigh Deeds has told a Virginia news outlet that his life's work now "is to make sure other families don't have to go through what we are living."

Deeds, 55, was stabbed and seriously wounded by his 24-year-old son, Gus, on Nov. 19. Gus Deeds then shot and killed himself.

The day before the attack and the younger man's suicide, Gus Deeds was given a mental health evaluation and local authorities tried to have him placed in a psychiatric facility where he could get care. But they did not locate such a facility before time expired on an emergency custody order. Questions have been raised about whether officials contacted enough hospitals. Regardless, Gus Deeds was released.

Now, as Politico reports, Creigh Deeds has told Virginia's The Recorder that he believes the local Community Services Board that oversees cases such as his son's is responsible for what happened. Politico writes that:

"Deeds, the Democratic nominee for attorney general in 2005 and for governor in 2009, spoke with law enforcement and gave them complete access to his medical records and property, the paper said. Deeds emphasized the need for improvement in the state's mental health services.

" 'I hope we can make a positive change as a result of this tragedy,' Deeds told The Recorder. 'I hope the justice we can get for my son is to force change in the delivery system for mental health services.' "

The Recorder's interview with Deeds is behind a paywall.

CNN adds that Deeds told the news outlet that "I cry a lot. I can't focus now and talk to anyone."

Last Friday, Deeds wrote this message on his Twitter page:

"I am alive so must live. Some wounds won't heal. Your prayers and your friendship are important to me."

Deeds, who was hospitalized after the attack, is now recovering from his stab wounds at home.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.

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