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Former NFL Pro Phillip Adams Named as Suspect in South Carolina Mass Shooting That Left Five Dead
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photos Getty/HandoutThe former NFL pro Phillip Adams has been named as the suspect in a Wednesday shooting in York County, South Carolina, that left a family doctor, his wife, and two of their young grandchildren dead.The York County Sheriff’s Office named the victims as Robert Lesslie, 70, and his wife, Barbara, who was 69. The two grandkids were Adah, 9, and Noah, 5. A fifth person, a man who was working in the home at the time of the shooting, 38-year-old James Lewis, was also killed. All five deaths have been ruled homicides by the York County Coroner’s Office, and a sixth person has been hospitalized with “serious gunshot wounds.” The coroner’s office said Lesslie and his wife and their grandchildren also all died from gunshot wounds. A sheriff’s spokesperson told The Daily Beast the incident the shooting occurred just before 5 p.m. on Wednesday at Lesslie’s Marshall Road home just outside Rock Hill, South Carolina. After an eight-hour manhunt, officers apprehended the suspect around 1 a.m.“Robert and Barbara were close friends of ours. To know the Lesslie family is to love them. Through the decades, they made such an incredible impact on our area and the lives of countless people—more than they could have ever known,” Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) said in a Thursday statement, before extending his condolences to the Lewis family. “It’s impossible to imagine the grief that the extended Lesslie family must be feeling, including and especially their adult children.”Law enforcement confirmed early Thursday that a suspect was found in a nearby home but released no details about their identity, any possible motive, or whether they were found alive or dead. When asked if the unnamed suspect was a neighbor of the Lesslie family, a York County Sheriff spokesperson confirmed: “He lives on the same road.”The spokesperson added that a search warrant has been served on the house where the suspect was found. The Associated Press later named the suspect as Adams, and reported that he also killed himself. Adams, 32, played defensive back for many teams, including the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets, and Atlanta Falcons. He suffered multiple injuries during his playing career, including concussions and a broken ankle.Prior to his professional football career, Adams went to South Carolina State. It is not immediately clear if the Lesslie family had a relationship with the suspect. “We are just in shock. I can’t believe this happened. Who would want to hurt the Lesslies?” one friend of the family told The Daily Beast on Thursday, describing how the community is “devastated.” Sadly 5 people have died as a result of the shooting. Dr. Robert Lesslie & his wife, Barbara Lesslie were both found in the home & died as a result of gunshot wounds, as well as their 2 grandchildren. James Lewis of Gastonia, was working at the home & died from gunshot wounds— YCSO_SC (@YCSO_SC) April 8, 2021 The spokesperson went on to pay tribute to Dr. Lesslie, saying that he was one of the local community’s most well-known people. “I’ve lived in Rock Hill my entire life and Dr. Lesslie was my doctor growing up,” said Faris. “[He’s] been one of those people that everybody knows. He started Riverview Medical Center in Rock Hill… It’s been a staple in Rock Hill for years.”“Many people have asked questions. We certainly understand. There are still many questions to be answered. For now, we ask that you keep the Lesslie family and our office in your prayers,” Riverview Medical Center said in a Thursday statement. On his website, Dr. Lesslie wrote that he and Barbara were married for more than 40 years and they had four children and six grandchildren together. “In my spare time, I enjoy writing, golf, hunting, growing fruit and hops, and bagpiping,” he wrote, while also recounting his decades of emergency-medicine experience in Rock Hill as well as North Carolina. Robert Lesslie The doctor was also the author of eight books about real-life stories from the emergency room. In one, Angels in the ER, Dr. Lesslie wrote: “Twenty-five years in the ER have taught me a lot of things. I know without a doubt that life is fragile. I have come to understand that humility may be the greatest virtue. And I am convinced we need to take the time to say the things we deeply feel to the people we deeply care about.” “It’s one of those strange things that a lot of people are going to have a hard time understanding… We just hope that everybody understands that we’re going to do everything we can to try to figure out why this happened here,” the sheriff’s office spokesperson Trent Faris said Thursday night, adding that the investigation is ongoing. “We are all shocked this could happen here in York County,” Faris added. “This is a mass shooting. Normally you think of a movie theater or a mall but we are treating this as a mass shooting because there were five victims killed.”According to local news reports, Adams was a seventh-round pick to the NFL in 2010. “I was on the phone with Coach [Mike] Singletary when my name came on the TV screen,” Adams told The Herald Online at the time, stating that the first beneficiary of his newfound fame would be his mother, Phyllis, who had been paralyzed in a car accident. “I can’t describe the feeling when I saw my name. I got picked by a team with a great coach and one that is on the way back up.”The Herald reported in 2010 that Adams’ mother is a longtime Rock Hill teacher who is known around town as “Mrs. P.A.” She did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. 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