ROCK HILL, S. C. (AP) — Former NFL player Phillip Adams fatally shot five people including a prominent doctor, his wife and their two grandchildren before later killing himself, authorities said Thursday.
York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson told a news conference that investigators had not yet determined a motive in the mass shooting Wednesday.
“There’s nothing right now that makes sense to any of us,” Tolson told a news conference.
Dr. Robert Lesslie, 70, and his wife, Barbara, 69, were pronounced dead at the scene Wednesday along with grandchildren Adah Lesslie, 9, and Noah Lesslie, 5, the York County coroner’s office said.
A man who had been working at the Lesslie home, James Lewis, 38, from Gaston, was found shot to death outside, and a sixth person, who was not identified, was hospitalized with “serious gunshot wounds,” authorities said.
Tolson said evidence left at the scene of the shooting led them to Adams as a suspect. He said they went to Adams’ parents’ home, evacuated them and then tried to talk Adams out of the house. Eventually, they found him dead of a single gunshot wound to the head in a bedroom, he said.
Tolson said both a .45-caliber and 9mm weapon were used in Wednesday’s shooting.
A person briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press earlier Thursday that Adams had been treated by Lesslie, who lived near his parents’ home in Rock Hill. Adams killed himself after midnight with a .45-caliber weapon, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.
However, Tolson would not confirm that Adams had been the doctor’s patient.
Adams, 33, played in 78 NFL games over five seasons for six teams. He joined the 49ers in 2010 as a seventh-round draft pick out of South Carolina State, and though he rarely started, he went on to play for New England, Seattle, Oakland and the New York Jets before finishing his career with the Atlanta Falcons in 2015.
As a rookie late in the 2010 season, Adams suffered a severe ankle injury that required surgery that included several screws being inserted into his leg. He never played for the 49ers again, getting released just before the 2011 season began. Later, with the Raiders, he had two concussions over three games in 2012.
Whether he suffered long-lasting concussion-related injuries wasn’t immediately clear. Adams would not have been eligible for testing as part of a broad settlement between the league and its former players over such injuries, because he hadn’t retired by 2014.
Adams’ father told a Charlotte television station that he blamed football for problems his son had, and which might have led him to commit Wednesday’s violence.
“I can say he’s a good kid — he was a good kid, and I think the football messed him up,” Alonzo Adams told WCNC-TV. “He didn’t talk much and he didn’t bother nobody.”
Deputies were called around 4:45 p.m. Wednesday to the Lesslies’ home, which is not visible from the road. They evacuated the neighbors as they spent hours searching for a suspect with police dogs.
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Submitted 13 days ago