Former NFL player Phillip Adams fatally shot five people — including a prominent doctor, his wife and their two young grandchildren — at the physician’s South Carolina home Wednesday before turning the gun on himself and taking his own life in his own family’s home, authorities said. Adams was only 32 years old.
Investigators believe that Adams forced his way into Dr. Robert Lesslie’s home in Rock Hill and shot Lesslie, his wife and the two grandchildren in a room, as well as two air conditioning technicians outside, York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said.
York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson in South Carolina told a news conference Thursday that investigators had not yet determined a motive in the mass shooting Wednesday.
“There’s nothing right now that makes sense to any of us,” Tolson said.
Dr. Robert Lesslie, 70, and his wife, Barbara, 69, were pronounced dead at the scene Wednesday, along with their grandchildren Adah Lesslie, 9, and Noah Lesslie, 5.
A man who had been working at the home, James Lewis, 38, from Gaston, was found shot to death outside. A sixth victim, Robert Shook, 38, of Cherryville, North Carolina, was flown to a Charlotte hospital, where he was in critical condition “fighting hard for his life,” said a cousin, Heather Smith Thompson.
At Thursday’s news conference, Tolson played audio of two 911 calls related to the shooting, the first from an HVAC company that employed Lewis and the other person doing work at the Lesslie home. One of them, the caller said, had called him “screaming” and saying that he had been shot and that his co-worker was shot and “unresponsive.”
“I think there’s been a bad shooting,” a different man said in a second 911 call, saying he was outside cutting his grass and heard “about 20” shots fired at the Lesslie home before seeing someone leave the house.
Tolson said evidence left at the scene of the shooting led them to Adams as a suspect. He said they went to Adams’ parents’ home, evacuated them and then tried to talk Adams out of the house. Eventually, they found him dead of a single gunshot wound to the head in a bedroom, he said.
According to ESPN, Dr. Lesslie had worked for decades as an emergency room doctor, board-certified in both emergency medicine and occupational medicine and serving as emergency department medical director for nearly 15 years at Rock Hill General Hospital.