Phillip Adams: Ex-NFL player named as gunman who killed renowned doctor and grandchildren

James Crump and Danielle Zoellner
·3 min read
<p>Phillip Adams #28 of the Oakland Raiders looks into the crowd during the first half against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on 8 December 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey</p> ((Getty Images))

Phillip Adams #28 of the Oakland Raiders looks into the crowd during the first half against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on 8 December 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey

((Getty Images))

The gunman in the fatal shooting of a renowned doctor and four others in South Carolina has been identified by the police as former NFL player Phillip Adams, who also killed himself in the incident.

Mr Adams’ body was discovered by investigators from York County Sheriff’s Office at a nearby home on Wednesday evening, just hours after the deadly shooting occurred at a house in the Rock Hill area.

The office confirmed on Thursday that Mr Adams died by suicide just after midnight by a .45 calibre weapon.

The former cornerback, who was born in Rock Hill, played for a number of teams including the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Jets during a six year career.

Officers were called to a home in the Rock Hill area at around 4.45pm on Wednesday, finding Dr Robert Lesslie, 70, and his wife, Barbara Lesslie, 69, dead inside the residence, alongside their grandchildren Adah Lesslie, 9, and Noah Lesslie, 5.

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Investigators also found the fifth victim, James Lewis, 38, from Gaston, South Carolina, who had been undertaking work at the house at the time of the incident, dead outside the home.

All deaths are being investigated as homicides, according to the York County Coroner’s Office.

A sixth person, whose condition is currently unknown, was hospitalised with “serious gunshot wounds” following the incident, according to York County Sheriff’s Office’s spokesperson Trent Faris.

Mr Faris revealed that Dr Lesslie was a prominent physician in the community, telling reporters on Wednesday evening: “I’ve lived in Rock Hill my entire life and Dr Lesslie was my doctor growing up.”

He added: “Dr Lesslie has been one of those people that everybody knows. He started Riverview Medical Centre in Rock Hill and it’s been a staple in Rock Hill for years.”

Dr Lesslie had practised medicine in the area since 1981, after receiving his degree at the Medical University of South Carolina. The 70-year-old was the founder of Riverview House Calls & Riverview Hospice and Palliative Care.

“I view my medical career as an opportunity to go beyond simply diagnosing and treating individual patients,” he wrote on practice’s website. “For me, it is a way to fulfill a higher calling by meeting the real physical and emotional needs of patients.”

He worked both in the Rock Hill area and the nearby city, Charlotte, in North Carolina. He raised four children with Mrs Lesslie.

Mr Adams was previously a patient of the renowned doctor, according to CNBC. His parents also reportedly lived near the Lesslie family home.

The authorities said that the investigation into the shooting is ongoing and confirmed that “there is no active threat to the community.”

The motive of the shooting was unclear, but Mr Faris said there was no evidence of an accomplice.

Rock Hill was described as a close-knit community in South Carolina with about 67,000 residents.

“It doesn't happen here,” Mr Faris said. “So it's one of those strange things that a lot of people are going to have a hard time understanding.”