WILLIAMSBURG -- Austin "Gus" Deeds' academic connection to The College of William and Mary dates back to 2007 when he enrolled at the school where he majored in Music.
Although he withdrew from the college in October of this year, his ties to the school remained clear Tuesday.
"Man, he was charismatic, and he could talk up his dad, his family. He was so proud. He did a lot of great things for and with his dad," Adam Rotche told 13News Now.
Rotche, a Biology major at William and Mary, met Gus Deeds when they were children. They were bunkmates one year at Nature Camp which is a summer camp in western Virginia. A few years later, they reconnected as counselors at the camp. They met again at William and Mary.
"He was a person who really cared about people," said Rotche. "He was a very genuine person, and he did really love to help people, and he did like to talk to people and make them feel better about themselves."
Rotche gathered with other people Tuesday night informally and privately to share pictures of Gus Deeds and listen to some of his musical recordings as they remembered their friend whom Virginia State Police believe stabbed his father, State Senator Creigh Deeds, in their home in Bath County, then shot and killed himself.
"The first thing I did was email him and say, 'Hey, I heard terrible news, and I hope you're okay, and you and your family are in my heart,'" shared Diane Dudley. A short time later, the library assistant at the school's Music Library realized just how terrible the situation was.
"He was one of those larger-than-life kind of kids, you know. Whenever he walked in the room, he had a great story to tell," Dudley said. "He admired his father, you know. He didn't really talk a lot about his family, but just a really nice kid."
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Tuesday that the 24-year-old had a mental health evaluation a day earlier under an emergency custody order. The newspaper went on to say that Gus Deeds was released due to a lack of psychiatric beds.
"He's been a roller coaster of a guy, you know. When he's happy, he's really happy, and when he's sad, he can get pretty sad," said Rotche. "He wore his heart on his sleeve, and you know, if he'd be down in the dumps one day, he'd come up to you and, you know, he'd be like, 'Hey, man, I'm not feeling so good. You wanna hang out? You want to play some music? You want to just talk?' and, so, I mean, obviously, nobody expected anything like this, but he's definitely kind of had a rocky road."
13News Now contacted the source The Richmond Times-Dispatch cited in its report.
Dennis Cropper, Executive Director of the Rockbridge Area Community Services Board, said he could not confirm the information.
At William and Mary, people celebrate Gus Deeds as a passionate and talented musician, able to play several instruments, with a knack for reaching out to help others.
"He had wonderful stories and a great personality, and, you know, we won't get to hear the rest of the stories," Dudley said.