Virginia state Sen. Creigh Deeds (D) recalled his final moments with 24-year-old son Austin "Gus" Deeds Monday in a CNN interview, saying he had "no reason to believe there would be any violence" before Gus Deeds stabbed his father and took his own life.
The senator, with an emergency custody order, had attempted to take his son to a psychiatric facility the night before the violence in November. Gus Deeds was released because officials found no beds available in any of the psychiatric facilities in western Virginia. The next morning, Gus Deeds stabbed his father twice in the back, then shot himself to death.
"I said, 'Gus, I love you so much.' I said, 'Don't make it any worse than it already is, son,'" Deeds recounted. "He could have killed me. No question about it."
Deeds told CNN his son had displayed troubling behavior in the months before the attack.
"Whatever illness that took him was so contrary to his nature," Deeds said of his son. “Gus' whole attitude, his delusions, had taken over."
Though Deeds had picked up on Gus Deeds' downward spiral, noticing mentions of guns in his son's journal, he said he had "no reason to believe there would be any violence." The senator blamed outdated laws for failing to protect his son.
"The system failed my son," Deeds concluded. "He was very ill. He was obviously delusional. I mean, the system let him down. It's inexcusable."
Deeds said he hopes to pass legislation that will tighten up the database of available space in psychiatric facilities.
After his son's death, he learned there had been vacancies in psychiatric facilities the night before.
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