Former NFL Player Phillip Adams Kills 5 People in South Carolina, Turns Gun on Himself

Jay Connor
·2 min read
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Phillip Adams sits on the sideline during the first quarter of an NFL football game in San Francisco.
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Phillip Adams sits on the sideline during the first quarter of an NFL football game in San Francisco.

These are the exact type of stories I hate to hear about, let alone report on, but since The Root is in the business of news, here we go.

The Associated Press reports that former NFL player Phillip Adams committed suicide shortly after midnight on Thursday. But as tragic as his loss is, it’s the details surrounding his death that are far more shocking than you can imagine.

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From the Associated Press:

The gunman who killed five people including a prominent doctor in South Carolina was former NFL player Phillip Adams, who killed himself early Thursday, according to a source who was briefed on the investigation.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly, said Adams’ parents live near the doctor’s home in Rock Hill, and that he had been treated by the doctor. The source said Phillips killed himself after midnight with a .45 caliber weapon.

Adams’ NFL career, which included stints with the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders, was marred by a multitude of injuries. It’s unclear of the extent to which Dr. Robert Lesslie treated Adams, but Lesslie was among those pronounced dead at the scene at his own Rock Hill, S.C., home on Wednesday. Others pronounced dead at the scene include his 69-year-old wife, Barbara Lesslie, and his grandchildren Adah Lesslie, 9, and Noah Lesslie, 5.

Outside of the Lesslie’s home, James Lewis, 38, was found shot to death, and a sixth person who has yet to be identified has been hospitalized with “serious gunshot wounds,” according to Trent Faris, a spokesperson for the York County Sheriff’s Office.

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For decades, Lesslie was a popular ER doctor in Rock Hill who practiced both emergency and occupational medicine. He had served as an emergency department medical director for nearly 15 years at Rock Hill General Hospital, per his website.

“Dr. Lesslie was my doctor growing up,” Faris told the Associated Press. “Dr. Lesslie has been one of those people that everybody knows. He started Riverview Medical Center in Rock Hill and it’s been a staple in Rock Hill for years.”

“Many people have asked questions. We certainly understand,” Riverview Medical Center said in a statement. “There are still many questions to be answered. For now, we ask that you keep the Lesslie family and our office in your prayers.”

Per Faris, deputies were called to the Lesslies’ home at approximately 4:45 pm ET on Wednesday and spent hours searching for the suspect.

The investigation is ongoing.