Creigh Deeds: As Son Stabbed Me, I Told Him I Loved Him

Talks about son Gus' struggle with mental illness with Anderson Cooper
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2014 2:35 PM CST

Creigh Deeds saw his son walking across the yard toward him as he fed the animals in the family barn last November. "Hey bud, how'd you sleep?" Deeds said, waving. But just moments later, "I turned my back, and I took it twice in the back" as son Gus stabbed him before ultimately killing himself, Deeds told Anderson Cooper in an emotional interview on CNN last night. "I said, 'Gus, I love you so much.' I said, 'Don't make it any worse than it already is, son.'" The night before, Deeds had taken his son home after he was held temporarily on an emergency custody order. Deeds had been worried about his son for months, but by that day, "Gus' whole attitude, his delusions had taken over," Deeds says. "Delusions of grandeur that he was a demi-god." And Deeds saw that his son had written in his journal about guns. Though his son wasn't happy, Deeds says he had "no reason to believe there would be any violence."

Before things started going downhill, Deeds says, Gus was "full of love." But he took a year off of college after his dad's failed 2009 gubernatorial campaign, and came back "noticeably different," with an almost "fanatical" religious zeal and an interest in making knives, his father says. Deeds isn't sure, but he suspects Gus was schizophrenic. "Whatever illness that took him was so contrary to his nature," Deeds says. And in the end, he believes the state of Virginia's mental health care system "failed" Gus by releasing him the day before the attack. "He was very ill. He was obviously delusional. I mean, the system let him down. It's inexcusable." That's why Deeds is now determined to change the laws. "Something good must come from this," he says. "We cannot allow other individuals to suffer the way my son did." (More Creigh Deeds stories.)

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