What Caused Son of Senator to Attempt a Murder Suicide?

Austin Deeds Suicide
Photo Via the Associated Press

Today Virginia senator Creigh Deeds made headlines after his son (pictured with the banjo above) stabbed him several times in the chest and face before shooting and killing himself. This tragic incident comes just one day after Austin Deeds, Creigh Deeds’ son, underwent an evaluation and was released from a psychiatric hospital because they reportedly had no beds available.

This attempted murder suicide raises important questions about the downward spiral of Deeds’ son who left college last month after experiencing psychiatric problems prominent enough to cause him or his family to seek a psychiatric evaluation for him yesterday.

Many are now questioning the status of Virginia’s mental health system and how someone capable of an attempted murder suicide could’ve been released. Many say that the state needs mental health funding and reform – particularly for the shortage of beds for those in real crisis.

And Austin Deeds was in crisis, as Mary Ann Bergeron the Executive Director of the Virginia Association of Community Services Boards confirmed that Rockbridge officials were calling hospitals in the area looking for a bed for Austin; “I can tell you right now, it was multiple hospitals that they called. That is a very rural area. The hospitals are few and far between.” Bergeron added that hospitals have even eliminated psychiatric wards because of limited funding, making it hard for people like Austin who obviously required involuntary detention on Monday.

Tonight investigators said they were putting together the sequence of events and motive behind the attempted murder and successful suicide, which began with a fight between Sen. Deeds and his son. Fortunately Sen. Deeds was said to be in fair condition Tuesday night after being airlifted to the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville and undergoing surgery.

Commenting on this story on CNN, Dr. Drew informed viewers that psychiatric illness and substance abuse disorders that lead to psychiatric problems become apparent in men most commonly between the ages of 18-24. Austin Deeds was just 24 years old and it is unclear yet if substance abuse played a role.

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