Authorities said Thursday, April 8, that former NFL star Phillip Adams fatally shot five people, including a famous doctor, his wife, and their two grandchildren, before killing himself.
Investigators have not yet identified a motive in the mass shooting, York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said at a press conference.
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, 9, and Noah Lesslie, 5.
According to deputies, the shooting occurred on Wednesday at the Lesslie’s residence.
Trent Faris, a spokesman for the York County Sheriff’s Office, said a sixth male, Robert Shook, was hospitalized with “serious gunshot wounds.” Shook is still in a “critical condition” as of Thursday afternoon.
The sheriff’s office said they investigated for hours before discovering Adams at his parents’ house about a quarter-mile from the crime scene at the doctor’s home in Rock Hill.
Late Wednesday, the office sent out a tweet: “We have ID’d the person we feel is responsible for the shooting on Marshall Rd. We found him in a nearby house. There is no active threat to the community.”
While attempting to negotiate Adams’ surrender, deputies were able to rescue Phillip Adams parents from the house.
Adams was discovered dead in his home at 2:30 a.m.
According to the coroner’s office, his death was caused by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Tolson said that Adams was immediately identified as a suspect based on information he left at the shooting scene, although he did not specify what it was. Officials were unable to provide any information on Adams’ motive. York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said he couldn’t prove a doctor-patient relationship.
“There’s nothing about this right now that makes sense to any of us and that’s why we’re working so hard to try to get more information,” Tolson said.
Adams, 32, played defensive back for several teams, including for the 49ers and Atlanta Falcons. In the NFL, he has sustained a number of fractures, including concussions and a fractured left foot.
A recap of the events
Deputies were called to the home on Marshall Road in the Rock Hill area at 4:45 p.m., according to Faris. The York County Coroner’s Office rushed to the scene to investigate reports of several deaths at the house.
Chopper 9 Skyzoom flew over the area and saw two rescue helicopters and an ambulance responding at the scene. There was also a SWAT team vehicle in the area. Deputies ordered their helicopter to stand down.
As deputies arrived at the building, they discovered Lesslie, his wife, and their two grandchildren dead in a back room after clearing the building.
Faris said they were shocked by this type of incident, “It’s one of those strange things that a lot of people are going to have a hard time understanding, and we just hope that everybody understands that we’re going to do everything we can to try to figure out why this happened here in Rock Hill, South Carolina.”
Lesslie is known as an influential figure in Rock Hill. He started Riverview Medical Center there and served as an emergency room doctor for decades.
I posted a live video update over on the @wsoctv Facebook page & asked people to share if they wanted to about the Lesslie family. They were well known & well loved. It’s clear this community is in a lot of pain & wants answers. Here’s a few of the responses: pic.twitter.com/9tLlkg3Vho
— Anthony Kustura (@AnthonyWSOC9) April 8, 2021