South Carolina shooting: Former NFL pro Phillip Adams killed 5, then himself

ROCK HILL, S.C. — The man suspected of killing five people, including a prominent doctor and two children, during a shooting Wednesday at a home in Rock Hill has been identified as former NFL cornerback Phillip Adams.

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Authorities in York County identified the shooting victims as Dr. Robert Lesslie, 70; Barbara Lesslie, 69; James Lewis, 38; Adah Lesslie, 9; and Noah Lesslie, 5. One other person suffered “serious gunshot wounds” in the attack, WSOC-TV reported.

Officials said they found the suspected gunman at a nearby home early Thursday. Adams died of a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound after the attack, York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said.

>> Related: Who is suspected South Carolina gunman Phillip Adams?

Update 3:55 p.m. ET April 8: Family members identified the sole survivor of Wednesday’s shooting in Rock Hill as Robert Shook of Cherryville, WSOC-TV reported.

Family members asked for prayers as surgeons continue working to save his life.

Update 3:50 p.m. ET April 8: Family members told WSOC-TV that James Lewis, one of the five people killed when a gunman opened fire at a home in Rock Hill on Wednesday, that the 38-year-old “helped anybody.”

“He was a kind guy, a great dad,” Lewis’ mother, Linda Tucker, told the news station. “It’s just so stupid.”

Lewis was an only child and a single father to three children, family members said. They told WSOC that Lewis became an HVAC technician to earn a better living to support his children.

“I keep on expecting to wake up, ‘Oh, it was just a bad dream,’ but it’s not. It’s real,” his father, Tom Lewis, said. “I would like to find out why this guy did what he did. I would like a lot more than that at times.”

Update 2:50 p.m. ET April 8: Deputies found two men shot, one fatally, outside the Lesslie family’s home in Rock Hill on Wednesday after responding to reports of a shooting at the home.

The men were air conditioning technicians who were working at the house when Phillip Adams, 33, opened fire on them before forcing his way into the home, York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said Thursday. Deputies found the men suffering gunshot wounds in the driveway at their work vans.

James Lewis, 38, died of his wounds. Tolson said the other technician, who was not identified, was taken to a hospital with serious injuries.

In a backroom inside the home, authorities found 70-year-old Dr. Robert Lesslie; his wife, 69-year-old Barbara Lesslie; and the couple’s grandchildren, 9-year-old Adah Lesslie and 5-year-old Noah Lesslie, dead of gunshot wounds, York said.

The motive behind the shooting remained unclear Thursday.

“We have probably more questions than what you do about this case right now,” York said. “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. We hope to be able to get to those answers and provide some why to the family, most importantly.”

Update 2:35 p.m. ET April 8: York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson on Thursday shared a pair of 911 calls made Wednesday afternoon, after a gunman killed five people and injured a sixth during a shooting at a home in Rock Hill.

Update 2:20 p.m. ET April 8: York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson shared a statement Thursday from the families of some of the victims of Wednesday’s deadly shooting in Rock Hill.

“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.”

Four members of the Lesslie family died when a gunman, identified to The Associated Press as former NFL cornerback Phillip Adams, opened fire at the family’s home. The victims were identified as Dr. Robert Lesslie, 70; Barbara Lesslie, 69; James Lewis, 38; Adah Lesslie, 9; and Noah Lesslie, 5, according to authorities. Lewis and another person, who suffered “serious gunshot wounds” but survived the attack, were working at the Lesslie house when the shooting happened, WSOC-TV reported

“If you would like to do something for the family, Adah and Noah would want you to stop at the free pantries and libraries in your community,” relatives said in their statement. “Barbara and Robert would want you to be good stewards at what you are given, leaving every place better than it was before you got there.”

Family members asked that people looking to help donate to Camp Joy in Greenville, North Carolina.

Update 11:05 a.m. ET April 8: The York County Sheriff’s Office plans to share more information on Wednesday’s deadly shooting in Rock Hill at a news conference scheduled to happen Thursday afternoon.

Update 10 a.m. ET April 8: Citing an unidentified source, the AP reported that former NFL player Phillip Adams killed five people, including a prominent doctor and two children, before killing himself early Thursday.

Adams’ parents live near the home of Dr. Robert Lesslie, one of the five people shot and killed Wednesday evening in Rock Hill, and the 32-year-old had previously been treated by the doctor, according to the AP.

Adams, 33, 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.

Rarely a starter, Adams also was with New England, Seattle, Atlanta, Oakland and the New York Jets, finishing his career with the Falcons in 2015.

Authorities have identified the five people killed in Wednesday’s shooting as 70-year-old Lesslie, the doctor’s 69-year-old wife, Barbara Lesslie; the couple’s grandchildren, 9-year-old Adah Lesslie and 5-year-old Noah Lesslie; and 38-year-old James Lewis, who had been working at the home.

Update 9:40 a.m. ET April 8: The AP reported that former NFL pro Phillip Adams killed himself early Thursday following the shooting.

Original report: Officials in South Carolina are investigating after five people, including two children, were found dead in a Rock Hill home, authorities said.

In a news release early Thursday, the York County Coroner’s Office said it responded to a Marshall Road home Wednesday “to investigate multiple deaths at the residence.” Authorities found three adults and two children dead from gunshot wounds, WSOC-TV reported.

The victims include the home’s residents, Dr. Robert Lesslie, 70, and Barbara Leslie, 69; their grandchildren, Adah Lesslie, 9, and Noah Lesslie, 5; and James Lewis, 38, of Gastonia, who was working at the residence, according to WSOC.

“All deaths are being investigated as homicides,” the Coroner’s Office said in the news release, adding that autopsies and toxicology tests were pending.

The York County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate and remained at the scene early Thursday, the release said.

WSOC reported that detectives have identified and found a suspect. Authorities were serving a search warrant, according to the news outlet.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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