08 April 2021

Former NFL player killed five people and then himself, report says

08 April 2021

The gunman who killed five people including a prominent doctor in the US state of South Carolina was former NFL player Phillip Adams who killed himself early on Thursday, according to a source who was briefed on the investigation.

The source said Adams’ parents live near the doctor’s home in Rock Hill, and that he had been treated by the doctor.

The source said Adams killed himself after midnight with a .45 calibre weapon.

The York County Sheriff’s Office said they had searched for hours before finding the suspect in a nearby home.

Adams played as a defensive back for multiple teams including the 49ers and the Atlanta Falcons after starring at South Carolina State.

He also suffered multiple injuries in the NFL, including concussions and a broken left ankle.

The York County coroner’s office said Dr Robert Lesslie, 70, and his wife, Barbara Lesslie, 69, were pronounced dead at the scene along with grandchildren Adah Lesslie, nine, and Noah Lesslie, five.

A man who had been working at the home, James Lewis, 38, from Gaston, was found shot to death outside, and a sixth person was taken to hospital with “serious gunshot wounds”, York County Sheriff’s Office’s spokesperson Trent Faris said.

Cornerback Phillip Adams (Paul Sakuma/AP) (AP)

Mr Faris said deputies were called around 4.45pm on Wednesday to the Lesslies’ home, and spent hours searching for the suspect before finding him in a nearby home.

“We have found the person we believe is responsible and we are with him at this time and that’s all I can say about the suspect,” Mr Faris said.

The investigation is ongoing, he said.

“Dr Lesslie was my doctor growing up,” Mr Faris said.

“Dr Lesslie has been one of those people that everybody knows.

“He started Riverview Medical Centre in Rock Hill and it’s been a staple in Rock Hill for years.”

A biography page of Dr Lesslie said he and his wife of 35 years raised four children.

He had been practising medicine in Rock Hill since 1981, according to the Riverview website.

He received his degree at the Medical University of South Carolina and has worked in the surrounding Rock Hill area and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Rock Hill is a city in northernmost South Carolina about 25 miles southwest of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Adams’ father told a Charlotte television station that he blamed American football for problems that may have led his son to commit violence.

“I can say he’s a good kid,” Alonzo Adams told WCNC-TV.

“I think the football messed him up.”

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