Del. David Toscano, D-Charlottesville, whose district overlaps with Deeds’, said in a statement: “Sen. Deeds was very close to his son, Gus, and has taken herculean efforts to help him over the years. Our thoughts and prayers are with Creigh and the family at this difficult time.”
At the Millboro Mercantile and Grocery Store, several miles from the Deeds home in remote, mountainous Bath County, a neighbor said he had a high regard for father and son.
“A fine neighbor. You couldn’t ask for a better neighbor,” said Joe Wood, 64, who said he had known Creigh Deeds since the late 1970s. “If something happened, he was right there.”
Wood mentioned Gus’ campaigning with his father during his unsuccessful run for governor, and he said the younger Deeds and his sisters came to his house often through the years.
Wood said while he had heard Gus had struggled with mental health issues, he couldn’t fathom what would have caused the violent encounter.
“They thought the world of each other,” Wood said. “That’s what’s surprising about this whole deal.”
Deeds and his ex-wife, Pam, divorced shortly after the 2009 campaign. Deeds remarried last year.
Deeds spent most of his childhood in Bath County, where his family settled in the 1740s. The rural county is known for the luxury Homestead resort, but Deeds grew up on the other side of the mountain.
“I didn’t grow up on the end of the county where you learn to ski and play golf as a child,” he said. Deeds lived on a farm after his parents divorced when he was about 7.
Deeds, a former Bath County prosecutor, was elected to the House of Delegates in 1991 and to the state Senate in 2001.