Phillip Adams shooting updates – 'No motive' for South Carolina gun rampage which saw NFL star kill 5 people and himself

PRO NFL player Phillip Adams, 33, allegedly killed five people and then himself in South Carolina.

Defensive back Adams, who had played for the 49ers, shot himself in the early hours of Thursday, April 8, after gunning down Dr Robert Lesslie, his wife and two young grandkids at their home.

Investigators are at a loss to offer a motive for the shooting spree that broke out in a quiet community about 30 miles south of Charlotte, North Carolina.

“We have probably more questions than you do right now,” York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson told reporters at a briefing.

There was no indication that Adams had any relationship with Lesslie or his family, Tolson added.

The York County coroner’s office said Lesslie, 70, and his wife, Barbara Lesslie, 69, were pronounced dead at the scene along with grandchildren Adah Lesslie, 9, and Noah Lesslie, 5.

Dr Lesslie was well known in the Rock Hill, South Carolina, area for emergency medicine and ER work.

A man who had been working at the home, James Lewis, 38, from Gaston, was found shot dead outside, and a sixth person was hospitalized with serious gunshot wounds.

Adams, played in 78 NFL games over five seasons for six teams. A safety and special teams player from South Carolina State, he joined the 49ers in 2010 as a seventh-round draft pick.

Read our Rock Hill South Carolina live blog below for the very latest news and updates

  • Debbie White


    Phillip Adams’ dad, Alonzo Adams, has blamed the South Carolina shooting outburst on football.

    "I can say he’s a good kid,” he told WCNC-TV in Charlotte, North Carolina.

    Alonzo added: “I think the football messed him up.”

    Members of the York County Sheriff's Office outside the home of Phillip AdamsCredit: Reuters
  • Debbie White


    Phillip Adams, 32, left the National Football League more than five years ago.

    As a player, Adams had a six-year NFL career as a defensive back with five teams, finishing with the Atlanta Falcons in 2015.

    He attended South Carolina State University and was selected in the seventh round of the 2010 draft by the San Francisco 49ers.

    Seattle Seahawks defensive back Phillip Adams (35) pictured warming up prior to the NFL game against the Tennessee Titans back in 2012Credit: Reuters
  • Debbie White


    Two weapons were used in the South Carolina violence, a .45-caliber and a 9mm, according to York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson.

    Phillip Adams died from a single gunshot to the head at his home a short distance from the murder scene, where he lived with his father, as police closed in hours after the shootings, officials said.

  • Debbie White


    Investigators are at a loss to offer a motive for the shooting spree that broke out in the quiet community about 30 miles (48 km) south of Charlotte, North Carolina.

    “We have probably more questions than you do right now,” York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson told reporters at a briefing.

    There was no indication that Adams had any relationship with Lesslie or his family, Tolson added.

  • Debbie White


    A former professional football player shot and killed a prominent South Carolina doctor, his wife, two grandchildren and another man before taking his own life at his home a short distance away, authorities said on Thursday.

    Phillip Adams, 32, who left the National Football League more than five years ago, was found dead hours after the killings of five people on Wednesday at the home of Dr Robert Lesslie in suburban Rock Hill, South Carolina, York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said.

  • Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore


    The Lesslie family has asked that any memorials or gifts be made to Camp Joy North Carolina, where Dr Lesslie served as a camp physician for a week each summer.

    The doctor and his wife were actively involved with the Christian camp, which works with children with disabilities.

    The couple volunteered at the camp for more than 20 years, and their four children, as well as their two grandchildren who were killed would help as well.

    "They were just right in the middle of camp and trying to help whoever they could help," Camp founder Ann Brice told CN2.

  • Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore


    A woman who lives across the street from Adams' parents' home, where he killed himself, told the Associated Press that cops spent hours trying to get him to leave the home before he shot himself.

    Allison Hope said she witnessed police using a loudspeaker and sending in a robot to scan the house.

    Authorities tried convincing the former football player to come out and promised to move his mother, who is disabled, out safely — but Adams would not comply.

    "This is something I can't grasp yet," Hope said. "I can't put it all together and I'm trying to.

  • Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore


    The sixth person Adams shot during the Wednesday rampage, Robert Shook, was out of surgery on Thursday evening.

    Shook was hospitalized in critical condition after the shooting. He was one of two air conditioning technicians working outside of the home when Adams approached.

    The other technician, James Lewis, was killed.

    Shook's daughter told CNN that her father was in intensive care and that he is on a ventilator.

    She said she was able to see him, and that he has a "very long road ahead of him."

  • [email protected]


    Cops found Phillip Adams dead at his parent's home down the street from his victim's residence.

    Adams is believed to have killed himself as cops surrounded the house, a coroner told The Herald.

    Adams' mother was inside the home as cops closed in on the premises, but she was removed before Adams was found dead.

  • [email protected]


    It was reported that Phillip Adams had his medication taken away by his victimLesslie Roberts before he went on his killing spree.

    In an interview with WBTV reporter Alex Giles. South Carolina Rep. Ralph Norman spoke of Adams' motive to kill his former doctor and his family.

    “My understanding [is] he was treating him, and had, from my understanding, stopped giving him medicine, and that’s what triggered the killings,” Norman said after speaking with law enforcement officials.

    “We encouraged him to explore all of his disability options and he wouldn’t do it,” agent Scott Casterline told the Associated Press.

    “I knew he was hurting and missing football but he wouldn’t take health tips offered to him. “I felt he was lost without football, somewhat depressed,” Casterline said.

  • [email protected]


    Phillip Adams' sister Lauren believes some of mental health issues Adams faced can be traced back to his NFL career, which began in 2010 after he finished playing in college at South Carolina State.

    When his career ended after the 2015 season, Adams became resentful towards the sport, she said.

    “He really didn’t want anything to do with football,’’ she told USA Today.

    ’’He didn't watch it. If we were watching it, he would leave the room or ask us to turn it off."

    “We wouldn’t hear from him for months,’’ she continued. “It was totally unlike him. He’s always been a family person.’’

    Phillip Adams when he played for the Oakland RaidersCredit: AP:Associated Press
  • [email protected]


    Phillip Adams' sister Lauren Adams spoke out to say that her brother's mental health suffered before he went on a shooting rampage on April 7.

    “His mental health degraded fast and terribly bad,’’ Lauren told USA Today.

    “There was usual behavior. I’m not going to get into all that (symptoms). We definitely did notice signs of mental illness that was extremely concerning, that was not like we had ever seen. …

    "He wasn't a monster. He was struggling with his mental health,'' she said.

    Lauren mentioned that although he had become more aggressive, he hadn't demonstrated any violent behavior.

    “In conversations, it would escalate to arguments,’’ she continued.

    "Normally it would just be a normal conversation. His temperament had changed where he was super laid back forever and all of a sudden he had that temper. You could just tell that something was off."

  • [email protected]


    Phillip Adams was arrested for assault and carrying a concealed weapon years before he gunned down his doctor and four others in a rampage.

    The former NFL star – who killed himself after carrying out the mass shooting in York County, South Carolina – had a criminal record with at least two prior arrests, one in 2009 and another in 2016, records show.

    Prior to carrying out the mass shooting, Adams had a criminal record including an arrest in 2009 for assault and battery.

    The circumstances surrounding that arrest are not immediately clear, though the defensive back was never charged and the case was disposed.

    Adams was also arrested in Charlotte in 2016 for carrying a concealed gun.

    The outcome of the second case is also unclear, though in a Thursday press conference York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said charges in the incident were still pending.

    Officials in Mecklenburg County – where the arrest took place – have been contacted for further information.

    Tolson also revealed that Adams has a number of historical traffic offenses, details of which will be released soon.

    Phillip Adams had a history of gun chargesCredit: Getty Images – Getty
  • [email protected]


    There has been no word from the National Football League since former player Phillip Adams shot and killed five people in Rock Hill, North Carolina.

    Adams, played in 78 NFL games over five seasons for six teams. A safety and special teams player from South Carolina State, he joined the 49ers in 2010 as a seventh-round draft pick.

  • [email protected]


    Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a "progressive and fatal brain disease associated with repeated traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), including concussions and repeated blows to the head," describes the Alzheimer's Association.

    The symptoms of CTE include memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, anxiety, suicidality, parkinsonism, and, eventually, progressive dementia.

    Several former players from the NFL have developed CTE as a result of repeated head injury's.

  • [email protected]


    Twitter chimed in upon learning the news of the Phillip Adams mass shooting.

    "Who wants to bet that former NFL player Phillip Adams had CTE at the time of his murder spree?" one person wrote.

    "Phillip Adams should burn in hell!! CTE or not" another said.

    "The Phillip Adams story is bizarre, puzzling, and extremely sad," one posted.

    "Murder and suicide are both some of the worst ways one can die," another said.

  • [email protected]


    Phillip Adams' father Alonzo Adams spoke to WCNC about his sons horrific actions.

    "I can say he's a good kid. I think the football messed him up," the father said.

    "I don't think he ever did anybody any harm," Alonzo said, before saying he knew the family.

    "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."

    Alonzo revealed to the outlet that his son had recently moved to Rock Hill, South Carolina from Fort Mill.

    Alonzo AdamsCredit: WCNC
  • [email protected]


    Jamey Dagenhart, the practice administrator at Riverview Family Medicine and Urgent Care, where Lesslie practiced, released a statement about he and his family's death.

    "On behalf of our Riverview family, thank you to the community for your support and prayers as we grieve the loss of life that was sustained. Dr. Robert Lesslie is best known in this community for the wonderful care that he’s provided for many patients and their families over the decades he spent here in this community," it said.

    "His greatest testimony, though, is the family and the legacy that he leaves. Dr. Lesslie, his wife Barbara, and his grandchildren Adah and Noah are loved by many and will be missed by many. But for those of us in Christ Jesus – we know and trust we will see them again. Dr. Lesslie tended to physical lives his entire career. 

    "But his legacy – and the legacy of his family – speaks to the more important need over and beyond our physical bodies but to the tending to our souls. The Lesslie’s knew the Lord as their personal Savior and they acted on what they believed. As the Apostle Paul writes in his letter to the Corinthian church:

    "When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

    'Death is swallowed up in victory.' 'O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?'

    The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15: 54-57 (ESV)"

  • [email protected]


    U.S. Congressman Ralph Norman has served South Carolina's 5th congressional district since 2017.

    Following the fatal shootings carried about by former NFL player Phillip Adams, Norman tweeted that he was close friends with Dr. Robert Lesslie and his wife Barbara, both of whom were killed in the shootings.

    He said: "It is impossible to imagine the grief."

  • Luke Kenton


    Scott Casterline, Adams' agent, told the AP that the defensive back regularly isolated himself, even as a player.

    Casterline said he spoke regularly with Adams’ father, who left him a voicemail Wednesday morning, informing him of the shooting.

    "He was part of my family. I loved him. He’s a great kid, a great guy. This is so unlike him. He had to not be in his right mind, obviously," Casterline said.

    "All of us who knew Phillip are shaking our heads. He struggled away from the game. I tried to get him to come to Texas. I was going to find him a job, but he wouldn’t leave South Carolina because he had a son. He was a good father.”

    “Seeing Phillip shoot two kids, it’s not him. I can’t fathom it. It’s devastating for the victims and the families,” Casterline said.

  • Luke Kenton


    Phillip Adams committed suicide by firing a single gunshot to his head with a .54 caliber pistol, police revealed Thursday.

    The NFL star killed himself just after midnight on Thursday, after murdering five and critically injuring a sixth person on Wednesday afternoon.

    York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said Adams shot himself inside his bedroom at his parents home.

    Adams' father, Alonzo Adams, said officers came to his home on Wednesday night and led him and his severely disabled wife out of the residence.

    Once inside police attempted to negotiate with Adams. However, they later discovered he'd already killed himself.

    Phillip Adams in San Francisco 49ers squad picture, 2011Credit: Getty Images – Getty
  • Luke Kenton


    The sole survivor of Wednesday's mass shooting that killed five others in York County, South Carolina, has been named as Robert Shook.

    Shook, a father-of-three, had been working on the Lesslie family's air conditioning unit on the exterior of the home with his colleague, James Lewis, when Adams' rampage began.

    Lewis was shot fatally in the incident, but Shook survived, calling his bosses at Gaston Sheet Metal Services, telling them he'd been shot and that they needed to call police.

    He was taken to hospital with serious injuries before undergoing multiple surgeries to help stop the bleeding. He was shot multiple times.

    Police said he is in a "very critical condition", and currently fighting for his life.

    “He is a hard-working man who put himself through school to become a certified heating and air service worker, to provide for his family,” Shook’s cousin, Heather Michele, told WBTV. “He is just a wonderful, wonderful man.”

    Robert Shook picturedCredit: Handout
  • Luke Kenton


    York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson read a statement from the families of some of the victims of Wednesday's mass shooting, in a press conference on Thursday.

    “We are truly in the midst of the unimaginable,” relatives of the Lesslie family said in the statement.

    “While we know there are no answers that will satisfy the question ‘why,’ we are sure of one thing: we do not grieve as those without hope.

    "Our hope is found in the promise of Jesus Christ and we are enveloped by peace that surpasses all understanding. To that end, our hearts are bent towards forgiveness and peace, toward love and connectedness, toward celebration and unity.”

    Tolson told the media the family's words were "more powerful" than anything that could be reported about the tragic case.

    Dr. Robert Lesslie, 70, his wife Barbara, 69, and their grandchildren, Adah Lesslie, 9, and Noah Lesslie, 5, are shown aboveCredit: Facebook
  • Luke Kenton


    The York County Sheriff's Department said Thursday they have not yet been able to determine a motive in the mass shooting carried out by Adams, which left five dead and one in a critical conditon.

    “There’s nothing right now that makes sense to any of us," said York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson.

    Tolson added that his department currently has more questions about the case than the media does.

    "We are working hard to provide some answers. Obviously, one answer is why. That is a question that we are probing as we speak with numerous investigators," he said.

    "We hope to be able to get to those answers and provide some why to the family, most importantly.”

    Then-San Francisco 49ers cornerback Phillip Adams is attended to after injuring his left leg during the third quarter of an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams in 2010Credit: AP:Associated Press
  • Luke Kenton


    York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson played 911 calls his department received yesterday, alerting authorities to the shooting.

    In one of the calls, a witness tells dispatchers they heard at least 20 gun shots ring out.

    Listen below, here:

    Phillip Adams shooting 911 calls reveal moment NFL pro ‘killed doc and family after breaking into home and firing 20 shots’

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