Former NFL player Phillip Adams has committed suicide after killing five in South Carolina, officials say
Former NFL player Phillip Adams has committed suicide in South Carolina after shooting dead five people on Wednesday, including a prominent doctor, his wife and their two grandchildren, the sheriff’s office said.
Adams, 32, was found dead in an alleged shooting at a house near the road with the victims after an altercation with authorities in York County, officials said on Thursday. He has played as a defender for many NFL teams, including the San Francisco 49ers and the Atlanta Falcons.
Supporters of the York County Sheriff responded to a gunshot wound around 4:45 p.m. Wednesday in a residential area 4400 block on Marshall Road in Rock Hill, about 27 miles southwest of Charlotte, North Carolina, the sheriff’s office said. Inside the house, authorities found the bodies of Dr. Robert Lesslie, 70, Barbara Lesslie, 69, and their grandchildren.
They all “died from gunshot wounds,” the sheriff’s office said Thursday in a tweet.
The fifth victim, James Lewis, was working at the home, according to the sheriff’s office. The investigating office said Lewis, 38, was from Gastonia, North Carolina, west of Charlotte.
The unidentified sixth victim was being treated for serious injuries, said Trent Faris, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office.
Faris said after a long search, police found the suspect “living on the same street” with the victims and that he had been given a search warrant in the house.
Phillip Adams in 2010.
San Francisco 49ers corner back Phillip Adams during a match against New Orleans Saints in San Francisco on September 20, 2010. Icon Sportswire via Getty Images file
Residents were urged to stay in their homes and lock their doors during the search. On Thursday morning, the Sheriff County Sheriff’s Office said, “there is no real danger in the community.”
“We have informed the man that we feel he is facing a shooting incident on Marshall Rd,” the organization said in a tweet. “We found him in a nearby house.”
Investigators did not immediately find the reason for the shooting.
A man who identified himself as Adams’ father, Alonzo Adams, told NBC affiliate WCNC in Charlotte that his son had committed suicide after shooting six people, killing five and injuring one.
“I think the ball has disturbed him,” he told the station.
An NFL spokesman, who could not confirm details of Adams’ death, expressed his condolences to the league.
The 49ers signed for Adams in 2010 and cut him off before the 2011 season due to an ankle injury. He has also played briefly for the New England Patriots, the Oakland Raider, the Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets and Falcons.
“We are aware of the senseless tragedy that took place in Rock Hill, S.C., involving former player Phillip Adams,” Atlanta Falcons spokesman David Bassity said in a statement. “We extend our deepest condolences to the families and friends of all those affected.”
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Robert Lesslie was the founder and medical director at Riverview House Calls & Riverview Hospice and Palliative Care, according to the company’s website. He obtained his doctorate from Medical University of South Carolina and worked in Rock Hill for 40 years, the website said.
He and his wife had four grown children and eight grandchildren.
“We are certainly in the middle of an unthinkable situation,” many members of the Ladlie family said in a statement issued by Rob Alexander Lesslie, Jeffrey Lesslie’s brother-in-law.
“The loss we experience is indescribable at this time. Although we know that there are no answers to the question of ‘why,’ we are sure of one thing: we do not grieve as do those who have no hope. The promise of Jesus Christ,
“In order to do that, our hearts are set on forgiveness and peace. In love and communication. About celebration and unity. We pay tribute to all those involved in this matter with prayers and sympathy especially for the Shook family, the Lewis family, and the Adams family.”
Rock Hill is the fifth largest city in South Carolina, with a population of about 73,000.
Faris, a sheriff’s spokesman, who has lived in Rock Hill for the rest of his life, said Lesslie was his childhood doctor.