Ex-NFL Safety Phillip Adams Dies by Suicide After Killing 5, Authorities Say

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVApril 8, 2021

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Former NFL player Phillip Adams shot six people, killing five, Wednesday before later taking his own life, authorities in York County, South Carolina, said Thursday, per Michelle Liu and Meg Kinnard of the Associated Press.

Dr. Robert Lesslie, 70, his wife Barbara, 69, their two grandchildren, Adah and Noah, ages five and nine, and James Lewis, 38, who worked at the Lesslie home, were all killed in the shooting.

An unidentified sixth person suffered "serious gunshot wounds" and has been hospitalized.

York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said a motive has not yet been determined.

"There’s nothing right now that makes sense to any of us," Tolson said at a news conference.

After the shootings, police found evidence leading them to believe Adams was the suspect and tracked him back to his parents' house, where they attempted to convince Adams to come out of the house. He was later found dead of a single gunshot wound to the head inside the home.

Lesslie was an emergency room doctor. Liu and Kinnard reported Adams had previously been treated by Lesslie, though Tolson would not confirm the report.

Adams' father, Alonzo, blamed football for changes to his personality.

"I can say he's a good kid—he was a good kid, and I think the football messed him up," Alonzo Adams told WCNC-TV, per the Associated Press. "He didn’t talk much and he didn’t bother nobody."

The 32-year-old was a seventh-round pick in the 2010 draft out of South Carolina State, appearing in 15 games during his rookie season with the San Francisco 49ers. The defensive back played five more seasons while appearing for six different organizations during his career.

He totaled 78 regular-season appearances with five interceptions before stepping away after the 2015 season.