We chat with journalist and author Masha Gessen, whose newest book explores the complicated family history behind bombings at the 2013 Boston Marathon.
Guest Host: Matt McCleskey
Virginia state senator and former gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds is in critical condition after being stabbed in his home early Tuesday. The Richmond Times Dispatch reports that his son is dead from a gunshot wound. We get an update on the incident and the latest on his status.
- Michael Pope Northern Virginia reporter, WAMU 88.5; political reporter, Connection Newspapers; Author, "Hidden History of Alexandria, D.C." (The History Press)
MR. MATT MCCLESKEYFrom WAMU 88.5 at American University in Washington, welcome to "The Kojo Nnamdi Show," connecting your community with the world. I'm Matt McCleskey, local host of "Morning Edition," here on WAMU, sitting in today for Kojo. Later in the broadcast, the future of online advertising. "Tech Tuesday" explores why cookies and pop ups are giving way to technologies that mine your social networks and target content to your specific profile. That's just ahead.
MR. MATT MCCLESKEYFirst, there's been disturbing news out of the Commonwealth of Virginia this morning. State Senator Creigh Deeds has been stabbed in his home in Bath County. The Democratic candidate for Governor four years ago, Deeds is in critical condition at the University of Virginia Medical Center. The Richmond Times dispatch is reporting that his son, Gus, was found dead in the same home from a gunshot wound. We're joined on the line now by WAMU 88.5's northern Virginia reporter, Michael Pope. Good afternoon, Michael, and thanks for joining us.
MR. MICHAEL POPEGood afternoon, Matt.
MCCLESKEYI know this is a developing story. What do we know now?
POPEWell, the Virginia State Police were called to the home at 7:25 this morning, responding to the scene where they found the son dead, and Senator Deeds was stabbed. The Virginia State Police are planning a press conference right now, where they're going to potentially lay out some more of these details. Sources in the Democratic party are saying that it was Deeds' son, Gus, who stabbed the Senator, and then turned the gun on himself. So, it's a very tragic story. It's still developing at this point.
MCCLESKEYAnd that's not confirmed yet by police, but that's what you were hearing from some other sources.
POPEFrom sources in the Democratic party. That's right.
MCCLESKEYYou had actually reached out to Senator Deeds for news stories just a couple of days ago.
POPEYeah. So, Deeds was involved in the 2005 recount for Attorney General, so I was trying to sort of get some information about how the recount was going to work. Interestingly enough, the Senator, after he lost that race for Attorney General, introduced some legislation that totally changed how recounts work. That's why I was trying to get a hold of him. I called his office and sent several emails and messages on Thursday of last week. And he actually responded to me through a Facebook message, on Thursday, saying that he was out of the country traveling.
POPESo, I said, you know, safe travels and hope to talk to you when you get back. And, you know, like I said, that was just last week.
MCCLESKEYWell, we're hearing from various dignitaries around the state today, responding to this morning's news. Governor Bob McDonald says in a statement, the news from this morning is utterly heartbreaking. He says at this moment, our state united in prayer for Creigh Deeds and his family. Meanwhile, Governor elect Terry McAuliffe says he and his wife are also praying for Senator Deeds. Calls it a truly sad day for Virginia and for the many people who know Creigh as the fine public servant and friend he is.
MCCLESKEYMcAuliffe says we join people across the Commonwealth and the country in wishing him a full recovery. Over the last few election cycles, we've been hearing about how the future of the Virginia Democratic Party resides in northern Virginia, and that our local communities here are changing the electorate of the Commonwealth with political values more closely aligned to the District and to Maryland. Deeds is more what you might call an old school Virginia Democrat, from rural Virginia. Just tell us a little bit about Creigh Deeds.
POPEYeah, so he ran in this hotly contested Democratic primary a few years ago to become Governor. And, at that time, the race had Senator Deeds. It also had Brian Moran, from northern Virginia, and Terry McAuliffe, also from northern Virginia. And McAuliffe and Moran sort of battled with each other for front runner status and a campaign that got very negative. And Deeds sort of emerged as the winner in that campaign, largely because he appeared to be floating above the fray, not as negative as the other candidates in that race.
POPEAnd so his primary victory in that hotly contested race several years ago was kind of viewed as a victory for old school politics, sort of the Virginia gentleman model of being a politician.
MCCLESKEYAnd what, you mentioned that you had reached out to him just last week, and he did respond, saying he was out of the country, but what's been your experience in interacting with him over the years?
POPEVery nice guy. I've been reaching out to people to get reaction on this story this morning, and without fail, everybody responded very positively to interacting with him and dealing with him. A very up front guy, very direct, very honest, likeable. In fact, I was just speaking to a Democratic volunteer who also met the son, Gus, during the campaign. The son actually took time off of college when his father was running for Governor and campaigned with him. He was a musician, and I was actually just speaking to someone who met him several times during that campaign.
POPEAnd they talked about music, and folk music specifically. And the person had a -- this particular Democratic volunteer up here in northern Virginia had a very positive view of the son, and really liked him, and liked spending time with him during that campaign. So, Deeds had a very positive and likeable reputation, as did the son.
MCCLESKEYAnd, so far, as we mentioned at the top, we're not getting a whole lot of information from authorities in Virginia. I imagine they're still just trying to sort through exactly what did happen.
POPEYeah, well, this is a developing story, and we're talking about a situation where the police were just called at 7:30 this morning. And so the police are learning more about what had happened as are we.
MCCLESKEYAnd northern Virginia reporter for WAMU 88.5, Michael Pope. Michael, thanks again for joining us. Our story, as we began this hour, again, the State Senator Creigh Deeds in Virginia stabbed in his home in Bath County this morning. He's in critical condition at the University of Virginia Medical Center. Also reports his son Gus found dead in the same home from a gunshot wound. And we are awaiting more information from authorities this hour. We'll continue to bring you updates through the day here on WAMU 88.5
MCCLESKEYJust ahead, "Tech Tuesday." We'll be talking about the future of online advertising. Again, Michael Pope, thank you for joining us.
MCCLESKEYStay with us.
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