South Carolina suspect wanted in killings of 2 kids and 3 adults found

Tray Ling

The Daily Beast Ex-NFL Pro Suspected of Killing Beloved Doc in SC Mass Shooting—Then Turning Gun on Himself Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photos Getty/HandoutFormer NFL pro Phillip Adams killed five people, including a beloved family doctor and his grandkids, in a mass shooting in South Carolina on […]

The Daily Beast

Ex-NFL Pro Suspected of Killing Beloved Doc in SC Mass Shooting—Then Turning Gun on Himself

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photos Getty/HandoutFormer NFL pro Phillip Adams killed five people, including a beloved family doctor and his grandkids, in a mass shooting in South Carolina on Wednesday before turning the gun on himself, according to local authorities.Dr. Robert Lesslie, 70, his wife, Barbara, 69, and their two grandkids, Adah, 9, and Noah, 5, were killed just before 5 p.m. at the couple’s Marshall Road home, just outside Rock Hill, South Carolina.A fifth victim, 38-year-old James Lewis, was fixing the air conditioning in the Lesslies’ home at the time of the shooting, according to his dad. A coworker of Lewis’ was also hospitalized with “serious gunshot wounds.”York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said Thursday that the first calls to 911 came from a manager at Gaston Sheet Metal Services, who said one of his employees had called him screaming they’d “been shot,” and from a neighbor who said he’d been cutting his grass when he heard 20 gunshots. When authorities arrived, they found the two workers outside the house. The other four victims were found dead in a back room.Public records show Adams, 32, and his parents live less than a mile down the road from the Lesslies, but the link between the two families was unclear. Tolson said there was no indication Dr. Lesslie had a doctor-patient relationship with the footballer. The Associated Press later reported the suspect had, in fact, been a patient of the doctor, citing someone briefed on the case.“There’s nothing about this that makes sense to any of us,” Tolson said.The sheriff said Adams forced himself into the Lesslies’ home, and there was evidence there that immediately pointed to his involvement in the killings. Hours later, investigators surrounded Adams’ family home nearby. They evacuated his father, Alonso, and disabled mother, Phyllis, and tried to talk Adams outside, but he was eventually found dead in a bedroom with a single gunshot wound to the head, Tolson said.Off-Duty Pentagon Officer Kills 2 People He ‘Thought’ Were Stealing a Car: PDAlonzo Adams told WCNC-TV that he blamed football for his son’s problems. “I can say he’s a good kid—he was a good kid, and I think the football messed him up,” he said. “He didn’t talk much, and he didn’t bother nobody.” The father said he knew the Lesslie family and had been Dr. Lesslie’s patient a long time ago. “I know they were good folks down there. We gonna keep them in our prayers.”Adams suffered multiple injuries, including concussions and a broken ankle, during his playing career as defensive back for the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets, and Atlanta Falcons. Prior to his football career, he went to South Carolina State.Lesslie, meanwhile, was described as a “staple” in the community, a man whose decades-long career meant he treated or knew almost everyone in Rock Hill, a place dubbed Football City USA due to the unusual number of residents who go on to gridiron stardom.“To know the Lesslie family is to love them. Through the decades, they made such an incredible impact on our area and the lives of countless people—more than they could have ever known,” Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) said in a Thursday statement, before extending his condolences to the Lewis family. “It’s impossible to imagine the grief that the extended Lesslie family must be feeling, including and especially their adult children.”Locals were aghast at a situation they could not explain.“We are just in shock. I can’t believe this happened. Who would want to hurt the Lesslies?” one friend of the family told The Daily Beast on Thursday, describing how the community was “devastated.” Lewis’ father, Tom, told local station WSOC9 that his son was working on the Lesslies’ air conditioning when the gunfire erupted. “He was my best friend,” he said.Gaston Sheet Metal Services said Lewis and the coworker were both “long-standing, beloved members of our family at GSM” who “embody the values we strive to achieve at GSM, and are family-focused, up-beat, and wonderful team members who cared about all the people they encountered.”“He was my best friend”I’m talking to Tom Lewis the father of the Gastonia technician killed in a mass shooting at a home outside of Rock Hill. James Lewis was there working on the AC when a gunman killed the family at the home and Lewis, then critically injured Lewis’ coworker pic.twitter.com/NkleSRPA7R— Ken (@kenlemonWSOC9) April 8, 2021 Trent Faris, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office, said Dr. Lesslie was one of the local community’s most well-known people. “I’ve lived in Rock Hill my entire life and Dr. Lesslie was my doctor growing up,” he said. “[He’s] been one of those people that everybody knows. He started Riverview Medical Center in Rock Hill… It’s been a staple in Rock Hill for years.”On his website, Dr. Lesslie wrote that he and Barbara were married for more than 40 years and had four children and six grandchildren. “In my spare time, I enjoy writing, golf, hunting, growing fruit and hops, and bagpiping,” he wrote, while also recounting his decades of emergency-medicine experience in Rock Hill as well as in North Carolina.The doc was the author of eight books about real-life stories from the emergency room. In one, Angels in the ER, he wrote: “Twenty-five years in the ER have taught me a lot of things. I know without a doubt that life is fragile. I have come to understand that humility may be the greatest virtue. And I am convinced we need to take the time to say the things we deeply feel to the people we deeply care about.” Robert Lesslie Eleni Pagiazitis, who worked for Lesslie for four years in patient relations, described him in an interview as “the hardest, caring, and most sincere person.”“He loved life and his family to the fullest and—most importantly, God. He was the sweetest and the funniest. He always cracked jokes with those he knew,” Pagiazitis told The Daily Beast, adding that Lesslie’s wife “was the most delightful, classy and lovely” woman. “His grandchildren were his greatest joy. He cherished family time beyond words,” Pagiazitis added. “He and a heart of gold and was always giving his passion and professionalism to all his patients.” The shooting happened just hours before President Joe Biden gave a White House Rose Garden address on gun reforms, calling gun violence “an epidemic” and “an international embarrassment.” Suspect Identified After Deadly ‘Business Dispute’ Shooting Spree in CaliforniaAccording to local news reports, Adams was a seventh-round pick to the NFL in 2010. “I was on the phone with Coach [Mike] Singletary when my name came on the TV screen,” he told The Herald Online at the time, stating that the first beneficiary of his newfound fame would be his mom, who had been paralyzed in a car accident. “I can’t describe the feeling when I saw my name. I got picked by a team with a great coach and one that is on the way back up.”The Herald reported in 2010 that Adams’ mom was a longtime Rock Hill teacher who is known around town as “Mrs. P.A.” She did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment. Citing court records, The Charlotte Observer reported Thursday that Adams was charged with simple assault and battery in 2009—but was acquitted in a bench trial. Earlier this month, he was convicted of multiple traffic charges, including failure to maintain proof of insurance and driving under suspension. Undated public records show he was also twice charged with carrying a concealed weapon.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

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Robert Lesslie, family dead in South Carolina shooting

A prominent local doctor, his wife and their two young grandchildren were among those killed Wednesday in a shooting at their home in Rock Hill, South Carolina. The suspected gunman was identified as former NFL player Phillip Adams, who later killed himself, York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said in a press […]