Breaking News
More () »

Suspect in Rock Hill shooting will have brain probed for trauma-related harm

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy has been shown to cause violent mood swings and other cognitive disorders.

ROCK HILL, S.C. — The brain of Phillip Adams, the former NFL player accused of killing five people in South Carolina before fatally shooting himself, will be tested for a degenerative disease that has affected a number of pro athletes.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, more commonly known as CTE, has been shown to cause violent mood swings and other cognitive disorders.

York County Coroner Sabrina Gast said on Friday she received approval from Phillip Adams’ family for the procedure to be included as part of his autopsy. 

In an exclusive interview Thursday with WCNC Charlotte, Alonzo Adams, the father of Phillip Adams, said, "I think the football messed him up."

Law enforcement has identified Adams as the shooter who shot six people - all 6 fatally - Wednesday before turning the gun on himself.

RELATED: Deputies provide timeline of events for Rock Hill shooting

The Medical University of South Carolina will be working with Boston University, which has a CTE Center. 

According to its website, the center conducts research on the long-term effects of repetitive brain trauma in athletes and military personnel.


Phillip Adams was a football and basketball player at Rock Hill High School.

He went on to play collegiately at South Carolina State University from 2006 to 2009 as a defensive back and was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the seventh and final round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

He did not end up graduating from South Carolina State University.

Adams played 15 games his rookie season but suffered a severe and "gruesome" ankle injury that required surgery and screws to stabilize the break.

It was called "one of the ugliest injuries of the NFL season," by NBC Sports.

In 2012, while playing for the Oakland Raiders, Adams suffered two concussions within a span of three games.

RELATED: Shooting suspect Phillip Adams played 6 NFL seasons

He played the week following his second evident concussion when the Raiders lost to the Carolina Panthers.

Adams also played for the New England Patriots, New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons.

His six-year NFL career ended after the 2015 season he spent with the Falcons.

WCNC Charlotte reached out to the NFL for comment and they released the following statement: "Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the victims of this devastating tragedy." 

Phillip Adams was named the suspect in a shooting that left prominent Rock Hill Dr. Robert Lesslie and five other people dead said his son took his own life after shooting six people in York County, South Carolina, Wednesday. 

Editor's Note: On Saturday, April 10, the sole survivor in the deadly Rock Hill shooting died from his injuries, according to the York County Coroner. Despite being shot several times, Robert Shook was able to call his supervisor at GSM Services, who then made the first 911 call related to the shooting. Shook leaves behind three children.  


Before You Leave, Check This Out