YORK COUNTY, S.C. — The father of a former NFL player Phillip Adams, who is the suspect in a shooting that left prominent Rock Hill Dr. Robert Lesslie and four other people dead, said his son took his own life after shooting six people in York County, South Carolina, Wednesday.
Alonzo Adams, the father of Phillip Adams, a former NFL player and college football star at South Carolina State, said his son shot six people, killing five, before taking his own life.
"I can say he's a good kid," Alonzo Adams said. "I think the football messed him up."
Officials would not say Thursday if the former NFL player had any known medical conditions.
Before Thursday, York County celebrated Adams' 2005 Rock Hill High School graduation and the collegiate and professional success that followed on the football field.
Adams played football at South Carolina State University after high school.
"My journey was long..." he told a group of veterans in 2010. "... It's a blessing to be in the position I am."
The Rock Hill School District released the following statement that said their community is "at a loss for words."
The Rock Hill School District and our community are at a loss for words to express our sadness and heartbreak for the tragedy that occurred in our community on Wednesday. The district views itself as an extension of the community, and when families in our care are hurting, we are hurting also. We cannot imagine the grief of the Lesslie, Lewis, and Adams families. Dr. Lesslie was a tremendous human being who cared for innumerable people in his medical career. He and his wife Barbara were pillars of our community. Their beautiful grandchildren, Adah and Noah, were students in our language immersion program at Cherry Park Elementary School. The teachers, staff and classmates of Adah and Noah are hurting and confused, as are many in our community. We may never understand why this has taken place.
We also want to acknowledge and extend our thoughts and prayers to Alonzo Adams and Phyllis Paden-Adams, the parents of Phillip Adams who graduated from Rock Hill High School in 2006. This is tragic for everyone. Mrs. Paden-Adams was once a teacher in our district and worked with many students to make a difference in their lives.
When school resumes next week after spring break, we will have trained counselors available for students and staff to talk with at our schools as we all continue to process this unspeakable tragedy. We will continue to keep our Rock Hill families in our thoughts and prayers.
After college, Adams began a several-year NFL career. In his early days of playing professionally, Adams reportedly suffered two concussions.
In recent months, the 32-year-old Adams reminisced about his playing days on Instagram.
"He was a good kid. He was a good kid," his dad said. "He didn't talk much and he didn't bother nobody."
A self-described disciplined athlete, court records show a judge recently found Adams guilty of traffic violations and fined him stemming from a February York County traffic stop. Court records show the judge disposed his case on April 6.
"I don't think he ever did anybody any harm," Alonzo Adams 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."
York County Sheriff's Office investigators said Adams killed five people, including grandparents and their two grandchildren. Two contractors at the home were also shot. One of them succumbed to their injuries.
Dr. Robert Lesslie, 70, and his wife, Barbara Lesslie, 69, were shot inside their home along with their grandchildren, 9-year-old Adah Lesslie and 5-year-old Noah Lesslie. A fifth person, identified as 38-year-old James Lewis, who was working at the home at the time, was shot and killed. His GSM colleague was also shot and seriously injured. The sixth person has not been publicly identified.
Alonzo Adams told WCNC Charlotte's Richard DeVayne his son Phillip Adams had recently moved to Rock Hill from Fort Mill. Alonzo Adams said investigators came to his house Wednesday night and his son took his life inside the home.
Officials said Thursday they were able to safely evacuate the elderly Adams from the home during a stand-off with the son.
Coroner Sabrina Gast said Phillip Adams' cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Other than living close to the victims, investigators said it's unclear what kind of relationship Adams maintained, specifically with Dr. Lesslie.
"We have no indication right now that there was a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Lesslie and Phillip Adams," Sheriff Kevin Tolson said.
In addition to minor traffic cases, Sheriff Tolson said Davis had a pending case from several years ago out of Mecklenburg County, but just what kind of case remains unclear.
Phillip Adams attended South Carolina State University from Fall 2006 to Fall 2010 and played for their team from 2006 to 2009. According to SCSU, Phillip Adams did not graduate. He was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the seventh round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He last appeared in an NFL game with the Atlanta Falcons in 2015.