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South Carolina shooting leaves five dead

A doctor, his wife and two of their grandchildren were among five people shot dead at a South Carolina home Wednesday night, police said.

A suspect has been found in a house near the shooting in the town of Rock Hill, SC, and taken into custody, Trent Faris, a spokesperson for the York County Sheriff’s Office, told reporters on Thursday. Police were serving a search warrant at the house, he said.

The motive for the shooting was not clear. Agent Faris said there was no evidence of an accomplice.

The sheriff’s office, in a post on Twitter, identified four of those killed as Dr. Robert Lesslie, his wife, Barbara, and two of their grandchildren. The website for a doctor’s office where he worked stated that Dr Lesslie, 70, and his wife had eight grandchildren.

The fifth fatally shot, James Lewis, was working at the house. A sixth victim was taken to hospital with serious gunshot wounds, Constable Faris said.

A person who answered the phone at the sheriff’s office Thursday morning said no officer was available to comment further on the shooting.

Constable Faris said Dr Lesslie had been a prominent physician in the Rock Hill community and had opened a local medical center. Dr Lesslie had practiced medicine in Rock Hill, about 25 miles southwest of Charlotte, North Carolina, since 1981 and was an emergency medicine specialist, according to the doctor’s office where he worked.

The doctor had also been an active member of his church, a newspaper and magazine columnist, and the author of several non-fictional works on emergency medical workers.

“I see my medical career as an opportunity to go beyond the simple diagnosis and treatment of individual patients,” he once wrote on his website. “For me, it’s a way to answer a higher calling by meeting the real physical and emotional needs of patients.”

In South Carolina, a 21-year-old white man killed nine people in 2015 at an iconic black church in the city of Charleston.

Last year, two people were killed and at least four others injured in a shooting in Hartsville, South Carolina. About six months later in Greenville, South Carolina, a nightclub shooting left two dead and eight injured.

Rock Hill, where the shooting took place Wednesday afternoon, has a population of 67,000. Agent Faris said he personally felt the tragedy because Dr Lesslie had been his childhood doctor.

“It doesn’t happen here,” Officer Faris said. “So it’s one of those weird things that a lot of people will have a hard time understanding.”

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