Phillip Adams is a former NFL defensive back who is accused of murdering five people, including a well-known doctor who was also an author, before dying by suicide in South Carolina on April 7, 2021.
The suspect was named by WSOC-TV, citing officials.
WOSC-TV reported that Adams, 32, whose parents live near the scene, shot six people but five of them died. The sheriff, speaking in an April 8, 2021, news conference, described Dr. Robert Lesslie, one of the victims, as a “pillar of the community,” who was helpful to law enforcement over the years. He had even treated the sheriff. “He knew everyone, and he treated everyone with respect,” said the sheriff, adding that the doctor raised his family to be the same.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Authorities Say the Doctor, His Wife & 2 of His Grandchildren Were Murdered
Ex-NFL pro Phillip Adams, 32, ‘kills doctor, 70, his wife and their two grandkids’
“Adams is suspected of shooting dead Lesslie, 70, and his wife, Barbara Lesslie, 69, along with grandchildren Adah Lesslie, 9, and Noah Lesslie, 5, and James Lewis, 38…”https://t.co/lMBw5tPmAF pic.twitter.com/34P5pszAlv
— Billy (@Billy2_O) April 8, 2021
The other victims from the doctor’s family were named as Dr. Lesslie’s wife, Barbara Lesslie, 69, and their grandchildren Adah Lesslie, 9, and Noah Lesslie, 5. In addition, a man who was working at the home, James Lewis, was murdered, authorities said.
“Sadly 5 people have died as a result of the shooting. Dr. Robert Lesslie & his wife, Barbara Lesslie were both found in the home & died as a result of gunshot wounds, as well as their 2 grandchildren. James Lewis of Gastonia, was working at the home & died from gunshot wounds,” the York County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.
They initially wrote, “At 4:45 PM deputies were sent to a home near 4400 Marshall Rd. reference a report of a shooting involving multiple individuals. We’re searching for a young black male wearing a hoodie & camo pants. This is a very active investigation.”
The first deputies arrived on the scene eight minutes after receiving 911 calls and began to assist the first two victims they encountered. “We immediately began to assemble a team to clear the house,” the York County sheriff said.
They found the doctor, his wife and some grandchildren in the back of the house. A living victim was also discovered. Authorities requested a drone and canine unit to respond. They were able to identify the suspect in this incident.
2. Adams Was Found in a Nearby House Where He Lived With His Parents, Authorities Said
JUST IN: Former NFL player Phillip Adams killed 5 people yesterday then himself last night😔
Dr. Robert Lesslie, 70, and his wife, Barbara Lesslie, 69, were pronounced dead at the scene along with grandchildren Adah Lesslie, 9, and Noah Lesslie, 5,. pic.twitter.com/FbfQAMfgag
— RapTV (@raptvcom) April 8, 2021
Officials said they had “IDed the person we feel is responsible for the shooting on Marshall Rd. We found him in a nearby house. There is no active threat to the community. Detectives are still in the area serving a search warrant & investigating this tragic event.”
Authorities said they contacted Adams’ father who lived with the suspect. They were able to remove the parents from the home.
They had a search warrant for the home and then confirmed that Phillip Adams was “deceased in a bedroom in the home.”
3. Dr. Lesslie Was an Author of ‘Angels in the ER’
Dr. Robert Lesslie wrote on Facebook that he was the “author of Angels in the ER, Angels on Call, Angels and Heroes, Angels on the Night Shift & Notes from a Doctor’s Pocket.”
He added, “I am an author and an actively practicing physician in upstate South Carolina. My posts mostly consist of quotations; particularly ones that I find inspiring, encouraging, or simply amusing.”
A post on his Facebook page now reads:
As many of you know, Dr. Lesslie passed into glory yesterday. Here are words that he recently wrote:
‘One day, when I depart this body and find myself in the presence of the Lord, my time, however it will be measured, will be filled with the praises and the wonder of Jesus. I know that I will once again be able to hug my mother and walk and talk with my father. There are a lot of people I want to see as well—family and friends, grandparents, some of whom I never met on this side. And I will seek out Peter and John and the Apostle Paul, as well as other giants of the faith—men and women whose words and deeds have guided and molded my journey and my heart.
We have no idea what Heaven will look like, only that it will be perfect. And because of that I know that one day, when I’ve experienced the presence and joy of that surrounding host of saints, I will find myself walking with Barbara in a field of lush, green grass, surrounded by gently rising conifer-cloaked hills. The words of Jesus will echo through that glade—“Behold, I make all things new.” And there will come Dox, charging towards us, his ears flapping in the breeze, his golden hair and majestic tail waving in the wind, and both of his laughing, dancing eyes meeting ours.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise him all creatures here below.
Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.’
4. The Motive Remains Unclear, but Adams’ Father Told a Local News Station, ‘I Think the Football Messed Him Up’
The motive is under investigation. “There’s nothing about this that makes sense to any of us,” the sheriff said.
It wasn’t clear whether Adams was ever a patient of the doctor, authorities said. Authorities say that Adams left evidence at the scene that allowed them to connect him to the mass murder. They didn’t specify what it was.
“He forced entry,” the sheriff said.
There were two air conditioning techs outside at the time of the mass murder. He said they have no information the weapons were illegally obtained. Authorities said there were past traffic citations against Adams.
Adams’ father, Alonzo Adams, told WCNC-TV, “I can say he’s a good kid. I think the football messed him up.” Alonzo Adams told the news station he knew the family. He added , “I don’t think he ever did anybody any harm,. All I can say is we pray for the family. He used to be my doctor a long time ago. I know they were good folks down there. We’re gonna keep them in our prayers.”
5. Adams Was a Defensive Back for Teams Including the San Francisco 49ers & Atlanta Falcons
Christian doctor and author of “Angels in the ER”, Dr. Robert D. Lesslie, was murdered in his home early this morning along with his wife and 2 grandchildren (+1 person of unknown relation) by former NFL player Phillip Adams.
Pray for their surviving family. pic.twitter.com/owvpm1HYN7
— Dread🇻🇦 (@DreadKZ) April 8, 2021
Adams played for multiple NFL teams. He was a defensive back and punt returner for the Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers from 2010 to 2015, according to his NFL.com profile . He as also briefly signed by the New England Patriots in 2011, but did not play in a game for the team.
Adams, originally from Rock Hill, South Carolina, played football at Rock Hill High School and South Carolina State University. He was drafted in the seventh round of the NFL Draft in 2010. He had multiple concussions and a left ankle injury in the NFL, WSOC reported.