By WBTV Web Staff | April 7, 2021 at 6:07 PM EDT – Updated April 8 at 5:31 PM
YORK COUNTY, S.C. (WBTV/AP) – The gunman who killed five people, including a prominent doctor, his wife, their two grandchildren and a worker, was a former NFL pro Phillip Adams, the Associated Press reports.
Adams died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, deputies said. Adams left information at the scene and they were able to identify him, according to officials.
The shooting happened just before 5 p.m. on Marshall Road.
Dr. Robert Lesslie, 70 (pictured below), his wife, Barbara Lesslie, 69, and their grandchildren, Adah Lesslie and 5-year-old Noah Lesslie, were killed in the shooting. Deputies say the family members were found in the back room dead with gunshot wounds. Adah Lesslie and Noah Lesslie lived on the property with their parents, Robert Lesslie’s son and daughter-in-law.
A fifth victim, identified as 38-year-old James Lewis, from Gaston County, was working at the home when he was fatally shot, according to the York County coroner’s office. A sixth person, identified as Robert Shook, was taken to the hospital with serious injuries from gunshot wounds. Shook’s family says he was able to call for help. He has since been in multiple surgeries.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly, said Adams’ parents live near the doctor’s home in Rock Hill, and that he had been treated by the doctor. The source said Adams killed himself after midnight with a .45 caliber weapon.
Rep. Ralph Norman says his understanding is that Dr. Lesslie was treating Adams and had stopped giving Adams medication. Norman says he was told by law enforcement that this triggered the killings.
NEW: @RepRalphNorman tells me his understanding is that Dr. Robert Lesslie was treating Phillip Adams and had stopped giving Adams medication – he says he was told that triggered the killings – Norman says he was told this by law enforcement. @WBTV_News pic.twitter.com/5u7TzOY3iP
— Alex Giles WBTV (@AlexGilesNews) April 8, 2021
Deputies played 911 calls from the shooting during a Thursday afternoon press conference.
In the first 911 call played, a man said he heard from a man who kept saying “I’ve been shot, I’ve been shot, Please call 911.”
“I think he’s been shot in the head or something,” the 911 caller said, saying the man had slurred speech.
The second caller, who said he was out cutting the grass, said. “I think there’s been a bad shooting. Maybe four people.” He said he heard about 20 shots.
“We are truly in the midst of the unimaginable,” York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said.
Lesslie’s family says if you would like to do something for the family, the grandchildren would like you stop by the free pantry and libraries. Barbara and Robert Lesslie would like you to be good stewards of the community, Tolson said.
Tolson says Dr. Lesslie was a “pillar” in the community.
“Our hearts are bent towards forgiveness and peace.” Paraphrased : Lesslie’s family says if you would like to do something for the family – Adah and Noah would like you stop by the free pantry and libraries. Barbara and Robert would like you to be good stewards of the community.
— Courtney Cole WBTV (@imcourtneyjcole) April 8, 2021
“We are shocked that this type of incident happened here,” said Trent Faris, with the York County Sheriff’s Office. “This is a very tragic situation.”
The family of Robert and Barbara Lesslie and their grandchildren put out a statement Thursday afternoon:
“On behalf of the Lesslie, Alexander, and Kulbok clans, we would like to address the outpouring of heartbreak, shock, grief, and support from our family, friends, and community.
“We are truly in the midst of the unimaginable. The losses we are suffering cannot be uttered at this time.
“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 toward forgiveness and peace. Toward love and connectedness. Toward celebration and unity. We honor all of those involved in this story with prayers and compassion specifically for the Shook family, the Lewis family, and the Adams family.
“As Robert Lesslie would say, when peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, it is well with my soul.
“If you would like to do something for the family,
“Adah and Noah would want you to stock the free pantries and libraries in your community.
“Barbara and Robert would want you to be good stewards of what you are given, leaving every place better than it was before you got there.
“Adah, Noah, Barbara, Robert, and the rest of the family would ask any memorials or gifts to be sent to Camp Joy North Carolina (918 South Pleasantburg Dr., Greenville, SC 29607) in honor of hope and the promise of eternity.
“-The Lesslie, Alexander, and Kulbok Families”
Dr. Lesslie was a prominent doctor in Rock Hill who published several books. Lesslie and his wife were married for at least 35 years.
Dr. Robert Lesslie founded the Riverview Medical Center and Riverview House Calls/Riverview Hospice and Palliative Care. The video below is from when I interviewed him back in 2017 about the flu season. An online bio says he wrote several books related to medicine. (3/5) pic.twitter.com/O52i9YwxKW
— Kristi O’Connor WBTV (@KristiOConnor_) April 8, 2021
Faris said Dr. Lesslie started the Riverview Medical Center.
“I’ve lived in Rock Hill my whole life and Dr. Lesslie was my doctor,” Faris said. “A lot of people know Doctor Lesslie.”
The shooting led to an hours-long search for what officers called an “armed and dangerous” suspect.
The person deputies believe is responsible for the shooting was found at his home on Marshall Road, later identified as Adams. Investigators have not released a motive.
Deputies said they were at the home conducting a search warrant.
Law enforcement helicopters and drones were used to look for the suspect. Officials asked citizens in the area to stay inside their homes and lock their doors during the search.
NEW: Residents in the area of 4400 Marshal Rd. YCSO is looking for a young black male wearing a black hoodie and camo pants last seen in the area of 4400 Marshall Rd, Rock Hill. Suspect is possibly armed & dangerous. Any contact or information call 9-1-1 immediately. #YCSONews
— YCSO_SC (@YCSO_SC) April 7, 2021
“We have a lot more information to gather,” Tolson said. “There’s nothing about this that makes sense to anybody.”
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