ROCK HILL, South Carolina – A former NFL player shot and killed five people, including a beloved doctor and his two young grandchildren, before committing suicide in a quiet South Carolina neighborhood, police said.
Phillip Adams, a 32-year-old who has played as a cornerback for teams including the San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots, has been found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his family’s home in the street after the massacre, York County. Said the sheriff’s office.
“There is nothing about this at the moment that does not make sense to any of us and that is why we are working so hard to try to get more information,” said the sheriff. York County Kevin Tolson at a press conference Thursday afternoon. “Many investigators are looking for these answers and can hopefully explain why to the family.”
The incident was the latest mass shooting to rock the country in recent weeks, including 10 people killed in Boulder, Colorado, eight in the Atlanta area and four in Orange, California.
The victims were identified as follows: Dr Robert Lesslie, 70, his wife, Barbara Lesslie, 69, and their grandchildren Adah Lesslie, 9, and Noah Lesslie, 5. James Lewis, 38, was found dead outside. Lewis was working at home at the time for a company specializing in air conditioning, roofing and heating repairs, the police said.
Calls to 911 began around 4:45 p.m. Wednesday. The first appeared to be from a supervisor at the repair company, who said one of his employees called him shouting that he had been shot. A second employee was not moving, the man in 911 said during a call played by authorities at a press conference.
“He shouts, ‘I was shot, I was shot,'” the man told a 911 operator. “One doesn’t answer, another speaks badly and he can’t speak.”
A second man mowing his lawn heard the gunshots and called 911.
“I was cutting grass in the yard and heard gunshots. About 20,” said an 80-year-old neighbor when calling 911. “I saw one person lying on the ground. ”
Tolson said officers found the two repairers in the yard of the house. Lewis was pronounced dead at the scene. Another employee, Robert Shook, was taken to hospital where he is in critical condition. Both worked for GSM services in York County.
As police searched the Lesslies’ house, which is down an alley from an arched stone doorway and not visible from the road, they found Dr Lesslie, his wife and their two grandchildren together in a room outside. the back of the house. All were dead, Tolson said.
Tolson said there was evidence at the scene that linked Adams to the murders, but did not give details. He said authorities were able to contact his family and found Adams living nearby. Some neighbors were evacuated as the police searched for the suspect with police dogs.
Allison Hope, who lives across the street from the Adams’ modest one-story brick house about a mile from the Lesslies, said police allowed her to return home around 9 p.m. Wednesday. Moments later, a vehicle pulled into their driveway and law enforcement quickly surrounded the property.
Read more:What we know about Phillip Adams
After:Doctor Robert Lesslie and his family among those killed by Phillip Adams in South Carolina shooting: What we know
She said law enforcement spent hours negotiating with Adams, using a loudspeaker and sending a robot to scan the house. She said authorities repeatedly asked Adams out and promised to get her disabled mother out safely.
“This is something that I cannot yet grasp. I can’t put it all together and I try to do it, and I’ve witnessed it, ”Hope said.
Adams’ parents were evacuated from the house as police surrounded the house and tried to force him to surrender. No gunshots were heard from the house, Tolson said, but police later found Adams dead inside of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Two weapons were recovered: a 9mm handgun and a .45 caliber handgun. Tolson said authorities have no information to suggest the weapons were obtained illegally.
Police were working on Thursday to determine motive but were unable to make sense of the violence, Tolson said, adding that authorities had no evidence that Adams was treated by the doctor, and did not had no information about the drugs used by the doctor. suspicious or anything about injuries he may have sustained while playing football.
Tolson said Lesslie was a model citizen in the community, someone everyone knew.
“Dr. Lesslie was a pillar of this community with what he was able to give back,” he said. “He was a longtime doctor who had treated me in the past. He treated everyone with respect.”
Lesslie and his wife have four children and eight grandchildren, according to a biography on the website.
Lesslie has practiced in the area since 1981. He worked in emergency rooms for decades, most notably as the medical director of the emergency department at Rock Hill General Hospital for almost 15 years, according to the biography. He founded two emergency care centers in the region and was also an author and columnist.
Lesslie’s 2008 book, “Angels in the ER,” told the stories of patients and emergency room staff, and for seven years Lesslie wrote a weekly medical column for the Charlotte Observer.
“It doesn’t happen here,” said Trent Faris, a spokesperson for the York County Sheriff’s Office. “It’s one of those weird things that a lot of people will have a hard time understanding.”
After:Breaking Phillip Adams’ NFL career: ‘I think football ruined it,’ Adams dad says
Adams spent six seasons in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, Oakland Raiders, New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons, before his career as a cornerback ended in 2015.
As a rookie in 2010, Adams suffered a serious ankle injury that required surgery, and later, in 2012, suffered two concussions in a three-game span.
Adams’ father told a Charlotte TV station he blamed football for issues that could have led his son to commit the violence on Wednesday.
“I can tell he’s a good kid,” Alonzo Adams told WCNC-TV. “I think football ruined it.”
Adams has often isolated himself, even as a player, his agent, Scott Casterline, told the AP. Casterline said he spoke regularly with Adams’ father, who left him a voicemail message on Wednesday morning.
“All of us who knew Philip are shaking our heads. He struggled to get away from the game. I tried to get him to come to Texas. I was going to get him a job, but he wouldn’t leave South Carolina because he had a son. He was a good father, “Casterline said.” Seeing Philip shoot two children isn’t him. I can’t figure it out. It is devastating for victims and families. “
More than a dozen news vehicles and television trucks lined the side of Marshall Road outside the Adams family home, where Adams was found dead. It’s only a few houses away from the Lesslies’ house, which sits on a heavily wooded property surrounded by a black fence.
Contribute: The Associated Press