NFL: Former player Phillip Adams, 32, kills five people, then turns gun on himself

NEW YORK (REUTERS) – Former National Football League (NFL) defensive back Phillip Adams shot and killed five people in South Carolina before committing suicide, according to multiple reports on Thursday (April 8).

He was 32 and was found dead in a nearby house hours after the killings at the home of a prominent South Carolina physician, Dr Robert Lesslie, in suburban Rock Hill, South Carolina, the Rock Hill Herald reported.

Citing unnamed sources, it reported that Adams killed Dr Lesslie, 70, his wife, Barbara, 69, two of their grandchildren – Adah, nine, and Noah, five – and James Lewis, 38, on Wednesday.

The York County Sheriff’s coroner’s office said Dr Lesslie and his wife were pronounced dead at the scene, and that Lewis, who had been working at the home, was found shot to death outside.

The Herald reported that police tracked Adams to a home near the shooting site, where law enforcement officials said Adams is believed to have killed himself once police had him surrounded.

“We have found the person that we believe is responsible and we are with them at this time,” Trent Faris, a sheriff’s office spokesman, told reporters shortly after midnight. He did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment on the report. The sheriff’s office has scheduled a news briefing for later on Thursday.

According to The Associated Press, Adams had been treated by the doctor prior to the shooting.

A sixth person, reportedly a maintenance person from the Lesslie home, was hospitalised with “serious gunshot wounds,” said The Herald.

Adams starred in football and basketball at Rock Hill High School, then attended South Carolina State University. The San Francisco 49ers selected him in the seventh round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

He played in 78 career games (11 starts) in the NFL and recorded 128 tackles, five interceptions, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble with the New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, then-Oakland Raiders, New York Jets, Atlanta Falcons and 49ers.

Adams last played in 2015 with the Falcons.

Dr Lesslie, a board-certified emergency medicine and occupational medicine physician, was co-owner of two local urgent care clinics, according to an online biography. He also had worked in and directed several busy emergency rooms at Charlotte-area hospitals and had been medical director of the emergency department at Rock Hill General Hospital for almost 15 years, the biography said.

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