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Ex-NFL Player Murders 5, Including 2 Children, Before Turning Gun On Himself

Rock Hill, SC – Former NFL defensive back Phillip Adams killed five people, including two children and a prominent doctor, before turning the gun on himself early Thursday morning.

A sixth person was transported to the hospital suffering from “serious gunshot wounds,” York County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO) spokesperson Trent Faris told the Associated Press.

The YCSO received a report of a mass shooting in the 4400-block of Marshall Road at approximately 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, WHO reported.

The residence at that location belongs to 70-year-old Dr. Robert Lesslie and his 69-year-old wife, Barbara Lesslie, according to the Associated Press.

The couple was found shot to death inside their home along with their grandchildren, five-year-old Noah and nine-year-old Adah, the Associated Press reported.

A fifth victim’s body was located outside the house, police said.

Investigators identified the fifth victim as 38-year-old James Lewis, and said he had been working at the residence at the time of the attack.

An anonymous source identified 32-year-old Adams as the gunman and said he fatally shot himself with a .45-caliber weapon early Thursday morning, according to the Associated Press.

The source said Adams’ parents live near the Lesslies’ residence, and that Robert Lesslie had treated the former NFL player in the past.

The YCSO said they spent hours searching the area for the shooter before he was located in a house nearby, the Associated Press reported.

“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,” Faris told the Associated Press.

The York County Coroner’s Office confirmed Adams was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a standoff with police, WHO reported.

Adams’ father, Alonzo Adams, confirmed his son was the suspect during an interview with WCNC on Thursday.

“I can say he’s a good kid,” the clearly-emotional father told the news outlet. “I think the football messed him up.”

The investigation into the mass shooting remains ongoing.

Robert and Barbara Lesslie had been married for 35 years and have four children, according to the Associated Press.

Robert Lesslie began practicing medicine in Rock Hill in 1981, and also worked in the Charlotte area.

“Dr. Lesslie was my doctor growing up,” Faris told the Associated Press. “Dr. Lesslie has been one of those people that everybody knows. He started Riverview Medical Center in Rock Hill and it’s been a staple in Rock Hill for years.”

Adams spent six years in the NFL after being drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 2010, the Associated Press reported.

He later played for the Seahawks, Raiders, Patriots, Falcons, and the Jets.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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