Former NFL player Phillip Adams died by suicide in South Carolina after he shot and killed five people Wednesday, including a prominent doctor, his wife and their two grandchildren, the sheriff's office said. However, hours after his death, a US congressman who was friends with the victims, alleged that the prominent doctor had been treating the Adams and had stopped giving him medication.
Adams, 32, was a cornerback, who played six seasons in the NFL and suffered multiple concussions. He was found dead from a suspected self-inflicted gunshot wound in a nearby home on the same street as the victims after a standoff with authorities in York County on Thursday, hours after shooting six people, five of them fatally.
York County sheriff's deputies responded to a report of gunfire around 4:45 pm on Wednesday at a residence in the 4400 block of Marshall Road in Rock Hill, about 27 miles southwest of Charlotte, North Carolina, according to the sheriff's office. Inside the home, officers discovered the bodies of Dr. Robert Lesslie, 70, Barbara Lesslie, 69, and their grandchildren.
Hours after the gruesome murders, the potential motive behind the bloodshed carried out by Adams was revealed by South Carolina Rep. Ralph Norman in an interview with WBTV. Norman, who was close friends with the doctor, Robert Lesslie, and his family, claimed that Lesslie was treating Adams and had stopped his medication.
"My understanding [is] he was treating him, and had, from my understanding, stopped giving him medicine, and that's what triggered the killings," Norman said, citing law enforcement. However, authorities have yet to confirm Norman's claims.
On Wednesday, Adams forced his way into Lesslie's home, killing him, his wife and their two grandchildren. He also shot two air-conditioning contractors outside the doctor's home, killing one, before turning the gun on himself.
Peace at Last
Adams' father, Alonzo Adams, told WCNCthat his son's being a football player was to blame for the tragedy. "I can say he's a good kid," the father told the outlet. "I think the football messed him up."
Adams had only recently moved in with his parents in Rock Hill, just a two-minute drive from Lesslie's home. The athlete had a criminal history, which included assault and weapons charges. He probably decided to end his life after getting into acute depression and thought that would possibly relieve his off all his troubles.
His agent described him as somewhat of a loner who refused to heed the medical advice offered to him, after his six-year NFL career was marred by injuries, including concussions. Adams last played in the NFL for the Atlanta Falcons in 2015 and just before the coronavirus outbreak had also opened a smoothie shop, according to Cowboys cornerback Kevin Smith, who trained Adams.
York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson during a press conference on Thursday afternoon confirmed that Adams used two firearms, a .45 caliber and a 9mm gun, to fatally shoot Lesslie and his wife Barbara along with their grandchildren Adah Lesslie, 9, and Noah Lesslie, 5, and James Lewis, 38, from Gastonia.
Tolson said investigators still have a lot of questions about the shooting and had not yet determined a motive. "There's nothing right now that makes sense to any of us," he told reporters.
A sixth person, identified by local news outlets as Lewis' colleague Robert Shook, survived despite being shot multiple times. However, he remains extremely critical as of now.