Lawmaker Whose Son Attacked Him Faults Mental Health System

'The system failed my son,' Creigh Deeds said

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In an interview that aired Sunday night on CBS’s 60 Minutes, Creigh Deeds said he’s leading an effort to improve support for the mentally ill in his state, two months after the incident that took his son’s life and left him scarred. He said his son, Austin “Gus” Deeds, underwent evaluation by mental health professionals but was released less than 24 hours before the incident because there wasn’t a psychiatric bed available and an individual could only be held under emergency custody for up to six hours.

“The system failed my son tonight,” he recalled telling a county mental health worker.

The next morning, Deeds went to feed the barn animals when his son came across the yard, he said on 60 Minutes.

“I said, ‘Hey bud, how’d you sleep?’ He said, ‘fine.’ I turned my back… and he was just on me,” Deeds said. “I said, ‘Gus, I love you so much.’ I said, ‘Don’t make this any worse than it is.’ He just kept coming at me.

“I want people to remember the brilliant, friendly, loving kid that was Gus Deeds,” Deeds said. “We’ll use Gus, I hope, to address mental health and to make sure that other people don’t have to suffer through this.”

The Virginia state senator whose son stabbed him multiple times before killing himself last year says he hopes the experience can spur action to better address mental health.