A former NFL player is the suspected gunman in a mass shooting that took the life of a doctor, his wife, two of their grandchildren, and another person before he shot himself in a shocking incident at a home in South Carolina, according to the county coroner and local news sources.
Phillip Adams, who played professional football with the Seahawks, 49ers, Raiders, and Jets, fired bullets inside of a Rock Hill residence on Wednesday afternoon, the York County Coroner and sources reported to The State.
Seventy-year-old Dr. Robert Lesslie, his wife, 60-year-old Barbara Lesslie, and two of their grandchildren, Adah Lesslie and Noah Lesslie, ages nine and five, were killed, the York County Sheriff’s Office reported.
Adams’s parents currently live close to the doctor’s Rock Hill residence and Adams was also treated by Lesslie as a patient, a source confirmed to the Associated Press.
A fifth victim, identified as 38-year-old James Lewis, was working at the doctor’s home when he was fatally gunned down outside, according to WSOC-TV.
A sixth victim, whose name has not yet been released, was taken to the hospital with a severe injury from a gunshot, according to authorities. The unnamed survivor was said to be a maintenance worker for the Lesslie family, sources revealed to The Herald.
Both Lewis and the injured person were said to be employed by Gaston Sheet Metal Services in Gastonia and were working at the doctor’s home, according to WSOC.
“Both men involved in this incident are long-standing, beloved members of our family at GSM,” the company posted on Facebook. “These men embody the values we strive to achieve at GSM and are family focused, up-beat, [sic] and wonderful team members who are about all the people they encountered.”
“In the coming days, our focus is on helping these families and our team members cope with this tragedy.”
After the shooting Adams was said to have turned the gun on himself, according to the AP. It was reported that he committed suicide as police cornered him in a home close to where the victims were discovered, sources said to the Herald.
After an eight-hour manhunt, authorities said they found the former pro athlete’s body at a nearby residence, the sheriff’s office said in a Tweet.
“There is no active threat to the community,” sheriff’s officials posted Thursday morning.
Robert Lesslie’s online biography states that he had been working as a doctor in Rock Hill since 1981 on Riverview House Calls & Riverview Hospice and Palliative Care, where he practiced medicine and served as the medical director. He had four children and was married to Barbara Lesslie for over 40 years, according to The State.
“Dr. Lesslie lives in Rock Hill with his wife, Barbara, and their golden retriever, Moses, several miniature horses, goats, donkeys, chickens and a lot of bees,” his bio says. “They have four grown children and eight growing grandchildren. He enjoys golfing, traveling and bagpiping.”
“We are all shocked this could happen here in York County,” spokesman Trent Farris commented. “This is a mass shooting. Normally you think of a movie theater or a mall, but we are treating this as a mass shooting because there were five victims killed.”
The sheriff’s office posted a Tweet on Wednesday saying they were looking for a “young black male” dressed in a hoodie and camouflage pants after the six victims were discovered.
Lesslie’s family is requesting privacy at this difficult time, Faris said.
Adams, who played as a defensive back, was in 78 professional games before leaving the NFL after the 2015 season.
“I can say he’s a good kid. I think the football messed him up,” Adams’s father, Alonzo, commented on the shooting.
“I don’t think he ever did anybody any harm,” he continued.
Investigators have not commented on a possible motive at this time, but Philip’s father confirmed that they knew the Lesslie family.
Officials from the NFL remarked on the tragic mass shooting in a statement on Thursday to the New York Post.
“Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the victims of this devastating tragedy,” the statement said.