A former NFL player fatally shot a doctor, his wife, two of their grandchildren and another person before turning the gun on himself in a horrifying scene at a South Carolina home, according to reports on Thursday.
Phillip Adams, who had stints with the Seahawks, 49ers, Raiders and Jets, opened fire at the home in Rock Hill late Wednesday afternoon, sources close to the investigation told the Associated Press.
Killed in the shooting was Dr. Robert Lesslie, 70, his wife, Barbara Lesslie, 69, and two of their grandchildren, 9-year-old Adah Lesslie and 5-year-old Noah Lesslie, according to the York County Sheriff’s Office.
A fifth victim, James Lewis, 38, who was working at the home at the time, was also fatally shot outside, WSOC-TV reported.
A sixth person, who was not immediately identified, was hospitalized with a serious gunshot wound, authorities said. The victim was also a maintenance worker at the Lesslie family’s home, sources told The Herald.
Lewis and the wounded person both worked for Gaston Sheet Metal Services in Gastonia and were doing work at the home, WSOC reported.
“Both men involved in this incident are long-standing, beloved members of our family at GSM,” the company said in a Facebook post. “These men embody the values we strive to achieve at GSM and are family focused, up-beat, and wonderful team members who are about all the people they encountered.”
“In the coming days, our focus is on helping these families and our team members cope with this tragedy.”
Adams later died by suicide, the AP source said. He is believed to have killed himself as police surrounded a home near where the victims were found, sources told the Herald.
Investigators discovered the gunman’s body at a nearby home after an eight-hour manhunt, the sheriff’s office tweeted.
“There is no active threat to the community,” sheriff’s officials tweeted early Thursday.
Robert Lesslie had been practicing medicine in Rock Hill since 1981, according to his biography on Riverview House Calls & Riverview Hospice and Palliative Care, where he worked as the medical director. He’s survived by four children. He and Barbara Lesslie had been married for more than 40 years, The State reported.
Lesslie earned his degree from the Medical University of South Carolina and worked at facilities in Greenville and Charlotte, where he served as the chief resident at Charlotte Memorial Hospital.
The board-certified emergency medicine physician also specialized in occupational medicine and had authored several books on his experiences with patients, including “Angels in the ER,” which sold more than 200,000 copies, according to his bio.
“Dr. Lesslie lives in Rock Hill with his wife, Barbara, and their golden retriever, Moses, several miniature horses, goats, donkeys, chickens and a lot of bees,” the bio continues. “They have four grown children and eight growing grandchildren. He enjoys golfing, traveling and bagpiping.”
A spokesman for the York County Sheriff’s Office earlier told the newspaper it was unclear what connection, if any, Adams had with the Lesslie family.
However, sources told the AP that Adams’ family lived near the doctor’s home in Rock Hill and said the former footballer had been treated by the doctor.
“We are all shocked this could happen here in York County,” spokesman Trent Farris said. “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.”
Faris noted how prominent Lesslie had been in the Rock Hill community.
“He was my doctor, if that says enough,” Faris told The State.
Sheriff’s officials tweeted Wednesday they were looking for a “young black male” wearing a hoodie and camouflage pants after the six victims were found.
Lesslie’s family is asking for privacy as they mourn, Faris said.
Adams, a defensive back, played in 78 NFL games before calling it quits after the 2015 season.
NFL officials acknowledged the mass shooting in a statement Thursday to The Post.
“Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the victims of this devastating tragedy,” the statement read.
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