Associated Press source: He killed 5 NFL player Philip Adams, then killed himself
Rockk Hill, South Carolina (Associated Press) – The gunman who killed five people including a prominent South Carolina doctor was former NFL player Philip Adams, who killed himself early Thursday, according to a person briefed on the investigation.
This person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly, said that Philip Adams’s parents lived near the doctor’s home in Rock Hill, and he was treated by the doctor. He said Adams killed himself after midnight with a .45 caliber weapon.
The York County sheriff’s office said they searched for hours before finding the suspect in a nearby home.
The York County Coroner’s Office announced that Dr. Robert Leslie, 70, and his wife, Barbara Leslie, 69, died at the scene along with his two grandchildren Ada Leslie, 9, and Noah Leslie, 5.
Trent Faris, a spokesman for the York County Sheriff’s Office, said the man who worked in the house, James Lewis, 38, of Gaston, was found shot dead, and a sixth person was hospitalized with “severe gunshot wounds.”
Philip Adams, 33, has played in 78 NFL matches over five seasons for six teams. He joined Team 49 in 2010 as a pick in the seventh round of South Carolina, and although he rarely started, he continued playing for the New England, Seattle, Oakland and New York Jets before ending his career with the Atlanta Falcons in 2015.
As a rookie in the late 2010 season, Adams suffered a severe ankle injury that required surgery that involved multiple screws inserted into the leg. He never played for the 49ers again, and was released just before the start of the 2011 season. Later, with Raiders, he had two concussions during 3 matches in 2012.
It was not immediately clear if he had suffered from long-term concussion-related injuries. Adams did not qualify for the test as part of a broad settlement between the league and the former players regarding such injuries, as he had not retired by 2014.
Philip Adams’ father told Charlotte TV that he blamed soccer for the problems that may have driven his son into the violence on Wednesday.
Alonzo Adams told WCNC-TV, “I can say he’s a good kid – he was a good kid, and I think football messed him up.” “He didn’t talk much and didn’t bother anyone.”
Representatives were called at around 4:45 p.m. Wednesday to Lisles House, which is way off a lane by an arched stone gate and not visible from the road. They evacuated neighbors as they spent hours searching for a suspect with police dogs.
Alison Hope, who lives across from Adams’ modest one-story home, about a mile down the road from Lisles, said police let her return to her home around 9 p.m. on Wednesday. Moments later, a car pulled up in their driveway and law enforcement quickly surrounded the property.
She said they spent hours negotiating with Adams, using a loudspeaker and sending a robot to scan the house. She said the authorities repeatedly asked Adams to come out, promising to get his mother safely out, before Adams shot himself.
“This is something I can’t understand yet. I can’t put it all together as I try, and I have experienced it,” said Hope. “I feel bad for him because if it was mental or something happened in his life or whatever, you know, he needed help, and that’s the sad part.”
Adams has often isolated himself, even as a player, his agent, Scott Castler, told The Associated Press. Castler said he spoke regularly with Adams’ father, who left him a voicemail Wednesday morning.
“He was part of my family. I loved him. He’s a great child, a great man. That’s nothing like him. It shouldn’t have been in his right mind,” Castler said.
“Everyone who knew Philip shakes 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 Philip shoot two kids, it’s not him. I can’t understand it. It’s devastating for victims and families,” Castler said.
Fares provided few details early Thursday ahead of a planned press conference.
“We have found the person whom we believe is responsible, and we are with him at this time, and this is all I can say about the suspect,” Fares said, adding that they have no reason to believe that anyone else is involved.
Faris and Philip Adams’ father said they were patients of the murdered doctor.
“Dr. Leslie was one of those people that everyone knows. It started with Riverview Medical Center in Rock Hill and has been a staple of Rock Hill for years.”
Leslie has worked for decades as an emergency room physician, holds a board degree in both emergency and occupational medicine, and has served as a medical director of the emergency department for nearly 15 years at Rock Hill General Hospital, according to his website.
He established two Urgent Care centers, wrote a weekly medical column for the Charlotte Observer, and also wrote a book, “Angels in the Emergency Room,” which compiles what he calls “true inspiring stories” from his work. A biography page stated that he and his wife had raised four children
Leslie wrote in his book I Know Without a Doubt that Life is Fragile. “I understood that humility may be the greatest virtue. I am convinced that we need to take the time to say the things we feel most deeply to the people we care most about.”