A neighbor shot a doctor, the doctor’s wife and their two grandchildren in their home in Rock Hill, SC, and an air conditioning technician who worked outside the house on Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.
The 32-year-old gunman Phillip Adams later shot himself dead in his own home when police officers tried to negotiate with him, authorities said. Mr Adams was a former professional football cornerback who was on the list of six teams for six seasons in the NFL
Authorities said he had Dr. Robert Lesslie fatally shot; his wife Barbara; and two of her grandchildren. The York County Coroner Office identified the children as Adah Lesslie, 9, and Noah Lesslie, 5. A doctor’s office website where Dr. Lesslie, 70, said he and his 69-year-old wife had eight grandchildren.
Mr Adams also fatally shot and killed James Lewis, 38, an air conditioning technician who had worked outside the Lesslies home, authorities said. A second air conditioning technician was rushed to hospital with severe gunshot wounds, according to officials from the York County Sheriff’s Office. The technician, whose name has not been released, is in “very critical” condition, Sheriff Kevin R. Tolson said at a press conference Thursday.
Sheriff Tolson said there was “no evidence” that Mr. Adams was one of Dr. Lesslies was a patient, although this was one of many questions the investigators were trying to answer. He said investigators did not know what this led to The shoot.
“Right now there is nothing that makes sense to either of us,” said Sheriff Tolson.
A man who identified himself as Mr. Adams’ father told an Atlanta TV station that his son committed the murders and then took his own life.
“I can say he’s a good kid. He was a good boy, ”said the man Alonzo Adams. “I think football messed him up. I don’t think he ever harmed anyone. “
Alonzo Adams said he knew Dr. Lesslie and was even his patient “a long time ago”.
“I know they were good people down there,” he said. “I don’t know what happened or not. We will keep them in our prayers. You all hold us in your prayers. “
Dr. Lesslie was a well-known doctor in Rock Hill and had opened a local medical center. He and his wife had lived in town for 40 years, had four children, and sang in the First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church choir, said Mayor John Gettys, who was a friend of the family.
Mr. Gettys said that Dr. Lesslie was known for playing the bagpipes and that Barbara Lesslie had a “beautiful voice”.
She volunteered to help adults with special needs and every year she helped run a camp in North Carolina for adults with disabilities. Dr. Lesslie had been practicing medicine in Rock Hill, about 25 miles southwest of Charlotte, NC, since 1981, and was an emergency medicine specialist doctor’s office where he worked.
Dr. Lesslie was also a columnist for newspapers and magazines and the author of several non-fiction books on rescue workers. He helped law enforcement officers by giving nurses space to examine victims of sexual assault, Sheriff Tolson said.
“Everyone is mourning today and I think we will mourn for some time,” said Mr. Gettys, who added that he last saw the couple at church on Sunday. “They were as always – happy and loving and dedicated,” he said.
Representative Ralph Norman, a Republican whose Rock Hill district is a part, said in a statement that he and his wife Elaine were close friends with the Lesslies.
“I can’t begin to describe the heartache and pain that Elaine and I are feeling.” he said on Twitter. “To know the Lesslie family means to love them.”
The shoot happened on Wednesday around 4:45 p.m. Sheriff Tolson said that Mr. Adams forced his way into the Lesslies house, which is about a quarter of a mile from the house that Mr. Adams shared with his father. When the police arrived, they found Dr. Lesslie, Barbara Lesslie and the two grandchildren in a back room. All four had gunshot wounds. Mr. Lewis was found outside, he said.
Sheriff Tolson said the police could not tell if anything was taken from the house. “We found evidence on the scene that linked Mr. Adams to this area – definitely,” he said, declining to elaborate.
Police officers received a warrant to search Mr. Adams’s house. After police tried to negotiate with Mr. Adams, they found him in a bedroom who had died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Sheriff Tolson said.
Sheriff Tolson said Mr. Adams used two guns, a .45 caliber and a 9-millimeter. He said there was “no evidence” that the weapons were illegally obtained.
Mr. Adams was born in South Carolina. He played college football at South Carolina State University and was drafted in the seventh round by the San Francisco 49ers in 2010. In his rookie season, he played all but one game, and in 2011 he split the time between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks. Adams spent the next two seasons with the Oakland Raiders. In 2012 he did Suffered two concussions in three games.
He played his last two seasons with the Jets and the Atlanta Falcons. During his six year career He appeared in 78 games. In three of his six seasons he was also a punt returner, one of the most dangerous roles in football.
It was not clear whether Mr. Adams’ relatives would have his brain sent to researchers who could determine if he had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disease associated with recurrent head trauma. It has been linked to mood swings and outbursts.
The disease can only be diagnosed posthumously – a process that often takes months – although research by scientists at Boston University School of Medicine has shown memory loss and poor concentration, following instructions, and performing everyday tasks are more useful in predicting the CTE are as behavioral symptoms.
In a statement read by the sheriff, relatives of the victims said they were “really in the midst of the unimaginable”.
The family said they knew “There are no answers to the question” Why? “Satisfy. They added,” Our hearts are centered on forgiveness and peace. “
Mike Ives contributed to the coverage.