Authorities said Thursday that former NFL player Phillip Adams shot and killed five people, including a prominent doctor, his wife, and their two grandchildren, before killing himself.
Investigators have not yet determined a motive in the mass shooting that occurred on Wednesday, according to York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson.
Tolson said at a press conference that “nothing right now makes sense to all of us.”
Phillip Adams and Football Career
According to the York County coroner’s office, Dr. Robert Lesslie, 70, and his wife, Barbara, 69, were pronounced dead at the scene on Wednesday, along with grandchildren Adah Lesslie, 9, and Noah Lesslie, 5.
James Lewis, 38, of Gaston, a man who had been working at the Lesslie home, was found shot to death outside, and a sixth individual, who has not been named, was taken to the hospital with “serious gunshot wounds,” according to authorities.
According to Tolson, evidence found at the crime scene led them to Adams as a suspect. He said that they went to Adams’ parents’ residence, evacuated them, and then attempted to persuade Adams to leave. According to him, they eventually discovered him dead in a bedroom from a single gunshot wound to the head.
According to Tolson, both a.45-caliber and a 9mm pistol were used in the shooting on Wednesday.
Adams was handled by Lesslie, who lived near his parents’ home in Rock Hill, according to an individual briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press earlier Thursday. Adams killed himself with a.45-caliber weapon after midnight, according to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to talk publicly.
Tolson, on the other hand, refused to say whether Adams was a patient of the doctor.
Adams, 33, appeared in 78 games for six different teams in the NFL over the course of five seasons. Since joining the 49ers as a seventh-round draught pick out of South Carolina State in 2010, he went on to play for the New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, Oakland Raiders, and New York Jets before finishing his career with the Atlanta Falcons in 2015.
Adams sustained a serious ankle injury as a rookie late in the 2010 season, necessitating surgery that involved the insertion of multiple screws into his leg. He was cut shortly before the start of the 2011 season, and he never played for the 49ers again. In 2012, he suffered two concussions while playing for the Raiders over the course of three games.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether he had sustained long-term concussion-related injuries. Since Adams had not retired by 2014, he would not have been eligible for monitoring as part of a broader arrangement between the league and former players over such injuries.
Adams’ father told a Charlotte television station that football was to blame for his son’s issues, which may have driven him to commit the violence on Wednesday.
WCNC-TV quoted Alonzo Adams as saying, “I would tell he’s a good kid — he was a good kid, and I think football messed him up.” “He didn’t say anything and he didn’t annoy anyone,” says the narrator.
Around 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, deputies were dispatched to the Lesslies’ house, which is not visible from the road. They evacuated the surrounding area while looking for a suspect with police dogs for several hours.
Allison Hope, who lives across the street from Adams’ parents’ modest one-story brick home and about a mile from the Lesslies, said she was allowed to return home about 9 p.m. Wednesday by police. A car pulled into the Adams’ driveway a few moments later, and law enforcement quickly surrounded the house.
She said they negotiated with Phillip Adams for hours, using a loudspeaker and bringing in a robot to search the building. Before Adams shot himself, she said, officials begged Adams to come out several times and promised to get his disabled mother safely out.
“This is something I’m still trying to understand. I’m not sure how to bring it all together, but I’m trying,” Hope explained. “I feel bad for him because, whether it was mental illness or anything else going on in his life, he needed support, and that’s the sad part.”
Even as an athlete, Adams’ agent, Scott Casterline, told the Associated Press that Adams was prone to isolation. Casterline said he talked with Adams’ father on a regular basis, and that he left him a voicemail on Wednesday morning.
“He had been a member of my family for a long time. He was one of my favourite people. He’s a wonderful kid and a great person. This is a complete departure from his usual conduct. Obviously, he couldn’t be thinking straight,” Casterline said.
“We’re all shaking our heads because we knew Phillip. He had a hard time getting away from the game. I made several attempts to persuade him to visit Texas. I planned to find him work, but he refused to leave South Carolina because he was the father of a son. He raised his children well.”
“After seeing Phillip shoot two children, I know it’s not him.” It’s incomprehensible to me. Casterline described the situation as “devastating” for the victims and their families.
Adams was a hard worker, according to former Cowboys cornerback Kevin Smith, who worked with him before and after the 2010 draught. Adams had opened a smoothie and juice shop before COVID-19 struck, he and Casterline both said, and stressed that he didn’t drink or use drugs.
Smith said, “He didn’t drink a drop of alcohol.” “He was a bit of a neat freak,” says the narrator of the storey. All was in its proper position in his house.”
According to his website, Lesslie had worked as an emergency room doctor for decades, was board-certified in both emergency medicine and occupational medicine, and had served as the emergency department medical director at Rock Hill General Hospital for nearly 15 years.
He opened two urgent care centers, contributed a weekly medical column to The Charlotte Observer, and published a book called “Angels in the ER,” which collected what he called “inspiring true stories” from his work. According to his biography, he and his wife raised four children.
Lesslie wrote in his novel, “I know without a doubt that life is delicate.” “I’ve come to realize that modesty might be the most important virtue. And I am persuaded that we must take the time to express our deepest feelings to the people we care about.”