US & Canada

Virginia state Senator Creigh Deeds in good condition

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds hugs his son Gus as daughters Susannah (L) and Amanda look on following a speech to supporters gathered on election night in Richmond, Virginia 3 November 2009
Image caption Creigh Deeds hugs his son, Gus, on election night in 2009 as two of his daughters look on

A Virginia state senator is said to be recovering well in hospital after being stabbed by his own son, who later took his own life.

Creigh Deeds' condition was upgraded to "good" a day after he was taken to hospital with multiple, critical stab wounds to his head and torso.

Police suspect Mr Deed's son, Gus, was responsible for the stabbing, before turning a gun on himself.

The 24-year-old is understood to have suffered from mental health issues.

He was found at the family home on Tuesday, dead from a gunshot wound.

A post-mortem examination on Wednesday confirmed the wound was self-inflicted and fired from a rifle, according to media reports.

Police have said they are not looking for any suspects.

'Psychiatric-bed shortage'

Virginia state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said investigators were still trying to figure out the motive and the sequence of events but said the two men had been involved in an "altercation".

Ms Geller said that "based on the evidence we have right now we are looking into this as an attempted murder and suicide".

Sheriff's deputies reportedly responded to a "non-emergency call for assistance" at the Deeds home on Monday, a day prior to the attack.

Authorities made no arrests and no charges were filed, according to media reports.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper reported that Gus Deeds underwent a mental-health evaluation at a hospital on Monday but was released due to a lack of psychiatric beds in the area.

Police said that despite his injuries Mr Deeds, 55, was able to walk from his home in rural Bath County, western Virginia, to a nearby road. A cousin who was driving by saw him and picked him up, making a call to emergency services.

Mr Deeds was flown to the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville.

The state senator, a Democrat elected in 2001, represents Bath County.

He ran unsuccessfully in 2009 against current Republican Governor Bob McDonnell. Four years earlier he lost to Mr McDonnell in a tight race for state attorney general.

More on this story