POLITICS
11/20/2013 06:18 pm ET | Updated Nov 21, 2013

Sheriff's Office Called Day Before Creigh Deeds' Stabbing, Son's Suicide

WASHINGTON -- The Bath County Sheriff's Office responded to a non-emergency call for assistance at the home of Virginia state Sen. Creigh Deeds the day before he was stabbed in a confrontation with his 24-year-old son, who police said later shot himself to death with a rifle.

The call for police assistance came Monday, during the same tumultuous 24 hours when Austin "Gus" Deeds was taken to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation under an emergency custody order, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He was released after no available psychiatric hospital bed was located nearby, the newspaper reported.

The call for help to the local sheriff resulted in no arrest, state police said Wednesday. The sheriff has no record of other calls for assistance from Deeds' home in rural Millboro, Bath County, state police said.

Deeds, a prominent Democrat who unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2009, remained hospitalized at University of Virginia Medical Center in good condition after he was stabbed early Tuesday in his head and chest.

Police said Wednesday that investigators have determined that Deeds, 55, and his son had an altercation outside the home in which the elder Deeds was stabbed multiple times. The wounded senator flagged down a cousin, who drove him back to the cousin's home to call 911, police said. Deeds' son fatally shot himself with a rifle and first responders found him suffering from a life-threatening wound. He died at the scene.

Monday's mental health evaluation of the younger Deeds was performed at Bath Community Hospital under an Emergency Custody Order, according to the Times-Dispatch. The order allowed him to be held for up to four hours for evaluation.

If a mental health professional determined that Deeds needed hospitalization, a magistrate potentially could have extended the order an additional two hours to locate a psychiatric facility, where Deeds could have been held for up to 48 hours under a Temporary Detention Order.

The Huffington Post reported Tuesday that a bed was available in Rockingham, a two-hour drive from Bath.

"If we had gotten a call from a community services board, another hospital, etc. asking if we had a bed available, anytime last night or today -- in fact, in the last 24 hours -- RMH would have requested clinical information, and IF the [patient] met the admission criteria, we would have had a bed and gladly accepted that patient upon medical clearance," said Debra Thompson, director of corporate communications for Rockingham Memorial Hospital. The Washington Post reported Wednesday that two other medical facilities -- Western State Hospital in Staunton and UVA Medical Center in Charlottesville -- also had beds available.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Sen. Deeds and his cousin drove back to the Deeds residence and dialed 911. They drove to the cousin's residence.

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