A prominent local doctor, his wife and their two young grandchildren were among those killed on Wednesday in a shooting at their home in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
The alleged shooter has been identified as former NFL player Phillip Adams, who later committed suicide, York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said at a press conference Thursday. Police said they found the suspect Wednesday evening at a nearby house after a long manhunt.
Adams’s parents live near the doctor’s home. Neighbor Allison Hope said she saw police surround the house and spend hours negotiating with Adams over a loudspeaker. She said police asked Adams out and promised to get her disabled mother out safely, before Adams shot herself.
“It does not happen here”:Former NFL player Phillip Adams named suspect in fatal shootout, reports show
A fifth person working at the family’s home was also found dead and a sixth was injured.
Here is what we know:
Who are the victims?
Dr Robert Lesslie, 70, Barbara Lesslie, 69, and their grandchildren Adah Lesslie, 9, and Noah Lesslie, 5, were pronounced dead at the scene, according to the York County Coroner’s Office.
James Lewis, 38, was found dead outside. Lewis was working from the home at the time, police said.
The sixth victim is Robert Shook, who is in very critical condition, Tolson said. He is an employee of GSM Services, the HVAC company where Lewis was also employed.
U.S. Representative Ralph Norman, RS.C., who attended Rock Hill High School, said he and his wife were close friends of the Lesslies.
“To know the Lesslie family is to love them,” Norman tweeted. “Over the decades, they have had an incredible impact on our region and the lives of countless people – more than they could ever have known.”
Who was Dr. Robert Lesslie?
Lesslie has practiced in the area since 1981 and founded Riverview House Calls & Riverview Hospice and Palliative Care, according to her website.
He worked in emergency rooms for decades, most notably as the medical director of the emergency department at Rock Hill General Hospital for almost 15 years, according to a biography on the website.
“Dr. Lesslie was one of those people that everyone knows,” York County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Trent Faris said at a press conference.
Lesslie founded two emergency care centers in the area and was also an author and columnist. For seven years, Lesslie wrote a weekly medical column for the Charlotte Observer, and her 2008 book, “Angels in the ER,” told the stories of patients and emergency room staff. When asked once if he really believes angels roam the ER, he responded on Facebook.
“Those of us who have had the privilege of working in emergencies, those of us who have been able to take care of people when their lives slip away, and stand with loved ones when they are in need. greater uncertainty, fear or grief, and to rejoice when a life is saved, know that we are not alone, ”he writes.
The physician was also the supervising physician and medical director of Winthrop University in Rock Hill for over 25 years. In a statement, university president George W. Hynd called Lesslie a “caring professional who touched lives and left our campus better” and thanked him for helping the COVID response team -19 from Winthrop.
“We just wouldn’t have been able to successfully open and deliver on-site quarantine and isolation support without Dr Lesslie,” he said.
Lesslie and his wife have four children and eight grandchildren, according to a biography on the website. They lived in Rock Hill, South Carolina, with their golden retriever, several miniature horses, goats, donkeys and chickens. He loved golf and bagpipes.
Lesslie was also an active member and served as an elder at a local church in Rock Hill, according to her biography. There he and his wife taught Sunday school and sang in the church choir. They also worked with Camp Joy, an awareness program for people with disabilities. He enjoyed mentoring high school and college students considering a career in medicine.
After the shoot, Lesslie’s website administrator posted words on her Facebook page that Lesslie had written in her book:
“Someday, when I leave this body and find myself in the presence of the Lord, my time, however small it may be, will be filled with the praises and wonder of Jesus,” he wrote. “I know I will be able to hug my mom again and walk and talk with my dad. There are a lot of people I also want to see – family and friends, grandparents, some of whom I have never met on this side. “
“We have no idea what paradise will look like, only that it will be perfect,” he continued. “I will find myself walking with Barbara through a field of lush green grass, surrounded by hills covered with evergreens.”
Who was the fifth victim?
James Lewis, 38, was pronounced dead at the scene by York County Coroner Sabrina Gast. Lewis, of Gastonia, North Carolina, was working at home at the time of the shooting, according to a statement from Gast.
A single father of three, Lewis worked as an HVAC technician for GSM services. His parents, Tom Lewis and Linda Tucker, moved to Gastonia from Michigan to be closer to Lewis, their only child, and his children – a 16-year-old boy and 12-year-old twins.
“He was my best friend,” said Tom Lewis.
“I always expect to wake up. “Oh, it was just a bad dream. It’s not. It’s real, ”he added.
James Lewis was also interested in woodworking, fishing and shooting sports. He had just started rebuilding a trailer before his death, his father said.
“He was such a tall man. He was doing so much. He helped clean up rivers. He helped everyone he could, ”Tucker said. “The nicest guy and a great dad.”
Learn more about the victim: Parents of Gastonia mass shooting victim react
What do we know about Phillip Adams, the suspect?
The suspect was identified by Tolson as former NFL player Phillip Adams, a defensive back who played 78 games in six years in the league.
Adams, 32, was drafted in the seventh round in 2010 by the San Francisco 49ers and continued to play for them and five other teams, ending his career in 2015 with the Atlanta Falcons.
Breaking Down Phillip Adams’ NFL Career: ‘I think football ruined it,’ says Adams’ dad
He played in the state of South Carolina, where he played the cornerback, but suffered several injuries during his professional career, including a serious ankle injury and two concussions in three games in 2012.
Adams’s sister Lauren Adams told USA TODAY he was laid back but his personality changed abruptly a few years ago and he became argumentative.
“His mental health deteriorated quickly and terribly. There was some unusual behavior, ” she said. “ We really did notice some extremely worrying signs of mental illness, it was not like we had ever seen it. And that was not the person we knew. ”
Lauren Adams said two weeks ago her brother spoke about her resentment towards the NFL in dealing with her disability claim and her belief that the league was making it difficult for her to collect the claim.
“I think he got pissed off about it and that’s kind of where it started, with him feeling like the whole world was against him,” she said. ‘was not going.’ ‘
Phillip Adams’ parents live near the doctor’s home and he has been treated by the doctor in the past, said a source who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly at the Associated Press.
Former Adams agent Scott Casterline told the AP his client tends to stick with him as a player and after his career is over.
“All of us who knew Phillip are shaking our heads,” Casterline said. “He struggled to get away from the game. I tried to get him to come to Texas. I was going to get him a job, but he wouldn’t leave South Carolina because he had a son. a good father. Seeing Phillip shoot. two kids, that’s not him. I can’t understand it. It’s devastating for the victims and the families. “
Casterline and former Cowboys cornerback Kevin Smith, who used to coach Adams, said the retired defensive back opened a store selling smoothies and juice before the pandemic hit, and stressed that he does not drink or use drugs.
Contributors: Gavin Stewart and Joe L Hughes II, The Gaston Gazette; The Associated Press