Former NFL star shot dead five people before killing himself, police say

Former NFL star Phillip Adams killed himself after shooting dead five people including a prominent doctor, his wife, and their two grandchildren, police say.

Police have not yet established a motive for the mass shooting in South Carolina on Wednesday.

“There’s nothing right now that makes sense to any of us,” York County Sheriff Kevil Tolson told a news briefing.

A York County sheriff vehicle drives onto the property where multiple people, including a prominent doctor, were fatally shot a day earlier, Thursday, April 8, 2021, in Rock Hill, S.C. A source briefed on the mass killing said the gunman was former NFL player Phillip Adams, who shot himself to death early Thursday. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)
Image:Police guard the entrance to the home where the shootings took place. Pic: Associated Press

Dr Robert Lesslie, 70, and his wife, Barbara, 69, were pronounced dead at the scene along with their grandchildren, Adah Lesslie, nine, and Noah Lesslie, five, the York County coroner’s office said.

James Lewis, 38, from Gaston, was working at the property and was found shot dead outside, while an unidentified sixth person was taken to hospital with “serious gunshot wounds”.

After police discovered the five victims, they said evidence left at the scene led them to the home of Adams’ parents.

There, they led his parents to safety before trying to talk the former San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots player outside.

More from South Carolina

  • South Carolina adds firing squad to execution methods to address lethal injection shortage

  • Hundreds of thousands without power as Hurricane Isaias hits US east coast

  • South Carolina: Two dead and eight injured following nightclub shooting

  • Woman who ‘wanted to get close to alligator’ dragged to her death

  • Biden is back: Sleepy Joe’s South Carolina win could be game changer

  • Hurricane Dorian: Boy drowns and 13,000 homes damaged in Bahamas

Eventually, Sheriff Tolson said, they found him dead of a single gunshot wound to the head in a bedroom.

According to the Associated Press news agency, Adams had been treated by Dr Lesslie, who lived near his parents’ home in the town of Rock Hill.

Adams’ father told a TV station in Charlotte, South Carolina, he blamed football for problems his son had, and which might have led him to commit Wednesday’s violence.

He told WCNC-TV: “I can say he’s a good kid – he was a good kid, and I think the football messed him up. He didn’t talk much and he didn’t bother nobody.”

York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson speaks during a press conference on Thursday, April 8, 2021, in York, S.C. where he addressed the mass shooting by former NFL football player Phillip Adams. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)
Image:York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson. Pic: Associated Press

Adams, 33, played in 78 NFL games over five seasons for six teams.

He joined the 49ers in 2010 and though he rarely started, he went on to play for New England, Seattle, Oakland and the New York Jets before finishing his career with the Atlanta Falcons in 2015.

As a rookie late in the 2010 season, Adams suffered a severe ankle injury that required surgery that included several screws being inserted into his leg.

He never played for the 49ers again, getting released just before the 2011 season began.

Later, with the then LA Raiders, he had two concussions over three games in 2012. Whether he suffered long-lasting concussion-related injuries is not known.

An NFL spokesman said: “Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the victims of this devastating tragedy.”

Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *