Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corrine Geller said at a Tuesday afternoon news conference that authorities are still investigating the stabbing of Sen. Creigh Deeds, but the incident appears to have been an attempted murder and suicide.
Deeds' 24-year-old son, Gus, died at the home of a gunshot wound. Geller says the senator and his son were the only people at the home Tuesday morning.
The senator, who also ran for attorney general in 2005, was in critical condition at a hospital, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
Virginia State Police said Deeds was stabbed in the head and chest at his home. Authorities say the senator was able to walk away from his house to a nearby road in rural western Virginia and was picked up by a cousin who happened to be driving by. They drove to the cousin's home and a 911 call was placed from there.
When police arrived at Deed's home in Millboro, they found his son, Gus, with a gunshot wound. Despite efforts by state troopers and first responders, he died there.
Detectives are trying to figure out a motive and sequence of events.
Deeds, a former Bath County prosecutor, was elected to the House of Delegates in 1991 and to the state Senate in 2001. He ran for attorney general in 2005, but lost to current Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican.
Deeds and McDonnell squared off again in 2009 in the race for governor after Deeds defeated Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran in the Democratic primary, but Deeds lost badly in the general election.
Gus Deeds is one of the senator's four adult children. He was studying music at the College of William and Mary, where he had been enrolled off and on since 2007, but withdrew last month, school spokesman Brian Whitson said. The college said he had a strong academic record. It did not say why he left.
The senator's reputation among colleagues has been as a thoughtful legislator. On social issues, he is generally to the right of party liberals, supporting abortion rights, but opposing gay marriage and gun control measures. He wrote a constitutional amendment guaranteeing Virginians' right to hunt and fish.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.