Police are investigating this morning's stabbing of a former Democratic nominee for governor of Virginia as "an attempted murder and suicide," they said this afternoon.
Creigh Deeds is now in fair condition at a Virginia hospital after he was stabbed multiple times in his home. His son, Gus Deeds, 24, was pronounced dead at the scene from a gunshot injury, state police said.
Police did not specifically name Gus Deeds as the perpetrator, but they are not searching for any suspects. Police are still investigating the motive and the sequence of events at the Millboro, Va., home.
Creigh Deeds was stabbed multiple times in the head and upper torso, but was capable of speaking with police and investigators, Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said.
Doctors upgraded his condition to fair from critical this afternoon, meaning he is conscious with stable vital signs within normal limits.
First responders had attempted this morning to treat his son at the scene, but he succumbed to his gunshot wound.
After the stabbing, Deeds, 55, walked down the hill from his rural Bath County home to Route 42, where he was spotted by a cousin who was driving along the road, police said.
A 911 call was placed from the cousin's home.
Deeds was transported by ambulance to a relative's farm where he was flown by helicopter to the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville at 7:25 this morning after sustaining "serious injuries," police said.
Police said they believe the incident occurred shortly before the 911 call was made this morning, but they would not release any information about who made the call.
Gus Deeds attended the College of William and Mary in Virginia, but he withdrew from the university last month, the school said. He had been a student off and on since 2007.
Gus Deeds was the senator's only son. He also has three daughters: Rebecca, Susannah and Amanda.
Creigh Deeds' 20-year marriage to his first wife, Pamela, ended in 2010. Deeds remarried Siobhan Deeds in 2012.
Police declined to say whether anyone else was in the house at the time of the incident or who made the 911 call.
In a statement, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell called the news "utterly heartbreaking."
"In this tough and sad time, our thoughts and prayers are with the Deeds family," McDonnell said. "Creigh Deeds is an exceptional and committed public servant who has always done what he believes is best for Virginia and who gives his all to public service.
"I urge all Virginians today to join me in praying for a full and complete recovery for Creigh and for many more years of his public service to the Commonwealth. At this moment, our state unites in prayer for Creigh Deeds and his family," he added.
Deeds has served in the state Senate since 2001. He ran for state attorney general in 2005 and lost narrowly to McDonnell. And, in 2009, Deeds became the Democratic nominee for governor but lost again to McDonnell.
Several Virginia politicians expressed their shock at the news this morning:
Stunning news from Bath County. I am praying for @CreighDeeds and his family at this very, very difficult time.— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) November 19, 2013
Praying for Creigh Deeds and his family.— Eric Cantor (@GOPLeader) November 19, 2013
Everyone here praying for Creigh Deeds. A good, kind man and public servant. This is just a very sad day.— Tucker Martin (@jtuckermartin) November 19, 2013
Our thoughts and prayers are with Creigh Deeds and his family.— Mark Obenshain (@MarkObenshain) November 19, 2013