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Shooting in South Carolina: Former NFL player Phillip Adams killed 5 before committing suicide, authorities say


Lesslie, his wife, Barbara Lesslie, and two grandchildren, aged 5 and 9, were found shot dead in a back room.

Air conditioning technician James Lewis, of Gastonia, North Carolina, was found dead outside. The surviving technician – who contacted his employer and said he was shot, prompting the employer to call 911 – was in critical condition in a hospital, Tolson said at a press conference Thursday.

Adams was later found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the bedroom of a house about half a mile away he shared with his parents.

Tolson said it was unclear why Adams brought two guns to the Lesslie property in Rock Hill, a town of 74,000 just across the border from Charlotte, North Carolina. .

“There is nothing about this at the moment that doesn’t make sense to any of us,” the sheriff said.

A statement from the doctor’s four children said the family was facing unimaginable loss.

“While we know that there are no answers that satisfy the question ‘why’, we are sure of one thing: we do not cry like those without hope. Our hope is found in the promise of Jesus Christ, and we are enveloped in the peace that surpasses all understanding, ”says the statement.

Lesslie was a “pillar in the community,” Tolson said of the doctor, who served as a supervising physician and medical director at Winthrop University, and founded a hospice and home physician service.

“He has treated me in the past in his clinic. … he knew everyone, he treated everyone with respect,” Tolson recalls.

Winthrop University President George Hynd said Lesslie’s contributions to the school were very varied.

“Students, in particular, have long benefited from referrals to his practice when additional care was needed beyond our reach,” Hynd said in a statement. “Personally, I will be forever grateful to him for the advice and guidance he provided to our COVID-19 response team when we opened the campus last fall to residential living and learning.

Lots of questions, few answers

Investigators do not yet know what led to the shooting, although they believe Adams was the only attacker, Tolson said.

“We probably have more questions on this matter than you do,” the sheriff told reporters on Thursday.

Something Adams left at the house led investigators to believe he was the shooter, and they proceeded to the nearby Adams family home, Tolson said.

Officers removed the parents from the house and attempted to contact Adams. They eventually found him dead, Tolson said, although they did not hear gunshots.

Adams died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, York County Coroner Sabrina Gast said.

When asked if Adams, who played in the NFL from 2010 to 2015, was a doctor’s patient, Tolson replied, “We haven’t been able to verify this.”

Adams played for several NFL teams

A South Carolina state official confirmed to CNN on Thursday that Adams plays in the NFL.

Shooting in South Carolina: Former NFL player Phillip Adams killed 5 before committing suicide, authorities say

Adams played as a defensive back from 2010 to 2015 for teams such as the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Oakland Raiders, New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons.

He had five interceptions and 121 tackles in 78 games, according to NFL.com. He also fired 37 punts with the Raiders and 49ers.

Adams’s dad, Alonzo Adams, told Charlotte WCNC television station on Thursday morning that Lesslie was his doctor years ago. He said his son was a calm and good kid – but he believed football had taken its toll.
Phillip Adams played at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg before his days in the NFL. He attended Rock Hill High School in his hometown, according to a SCSU track and field media guide.

Shooting

Authorities were called around 4:45 p.m. at the Lesslies’ home just south of Rock Hill, Tolson said.

Tolson played two 911 calls for reporters at a press conference Thursday. In one, the air conditioning technician’s employer told a 911 operator that an injured worker had just called him about the shooting.

“(The worker) was screaming that he had been shot, and the other technician … had been shot and was not responding,” the caller told the 911 operator.

In the other call, a man told an operator he was mowing grass when he heard clicking noises.

He says he went to Lesslie’s property and saw a man lying on the ground from a distance and it was there that he realized he had heard gunshots.

The appellant said he saw a man in black clothes come out of the house.

While the witness said he could have heard about 20 shots, the sheriff only confirmed that there were “multiple shots”.

The doctor had been practicing in the region since 1981

Governor Henry McMaster tweeted his condolences to the victims.

“Tragic and heartbreaking news from Rock Hill this morning. Please join @ 1stLadySC and I in raising the Lesslie family in prayer during this difficult time,” the tweet read.

York County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Trent Faris said Thursday he knew Lesslie and “Dr Lesslie was my doctor growing up.”

“Dr. Lesslie is one of those people that everyone knows. He founded Riverview Medical Center in Rock Hill and has been a fixture in Rock Hill for years, ”said Faris.

“If you’re from Rock Hill and you’re from that area, the people involved are very important and well known in York County,” said Faris.

Lesslie was the founder of Riverview House Calls and Riverview Hospice and Palliative Care, according to the Joint Services website, and had practiced in Rock Hill since 1981. In a personal biography page, Lesslie says he and his wife had been married for 40 years. years old, raised four children and had nine grandchildren.
“In my spare time, I enjoy writing, golfing, hunting, growing fruit and hops, and playing the bagpipes,” the bio page says.
His website lists several books he has authored, including “Angels in the ER” from 2008, a book about faith in God and the work of nurses, doctors and others under difficult circumstances during his working years. in an emergency room.
“I have been an observer of the human condition as well as a doctor. There is no better place to be an observer than the emergency room,” he told the Herald of Rock Hill about of the book in 2008. “You find out what people are. Everyone has something to teach us. I wanted to do it from a spiritual point of view. Once that became clear to me, it worked out. is written. “

CNN’s Christina Maxouris, Joe Sutton, Devon Sayers and Justin Lear contributed to this report.

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