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Phillip Adams' father confirmed his son was the shooter

By Chris Harris
April 08, 2021 12:46 PM
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Phillip Adams
Phillip Adams
| Credit: NFL via Getty

The father of Phillip Adams has confirmed the former NFL player died by suicide Wednesday night after killing five people — including two small children — inside a home in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Alonzo Adams spoke to WCNC Thursday, acknowledging his son's crimes.

Local authorities officially confirmed the shooting was perpetrated by Adams Thursday afternoon.

"We pray for the family," Adams told the station, adding that one of the victims, Dr. Robert Lesslie, had been his physician years ago. "I know they were good folks."

Insinuating his son may have had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, from his years in the NFL, the father said: "I think the football messed him up."

The 32-year-old fatally shot himself after entering the Lesslie residence, killing Robert, his wife of 40 years, Barbara Lesslie, two of their eight grandchildren, and a 38-year-old man who was doing work at the home, according to the York County Sheriff's Office.

Robert Lesslie and family
Robert and Barbara Lesslie
| Credit: robertlesslie.com

The shooting happened at about 4:45 p.m. York County Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to the Lesslie home, arriving to find the renowned 70-year-old physician and author and his 69-year-old wife dead. 

Also killed were 9-year-old Adah Lesslie and 5-year-old Noah Lesslie, along with James Lewis of Gastonia. A sixth person was shot but is expected to survive.

The Lesslies and Adams live on the same street, police said.

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Adams played college football for the South Carolina State Bulldogs before being selected in the seventh round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers.

The former cornerback also played for the New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks and New York Jets. He last played with the Atlanta Falcons in 2015.

The Lesslies were active members of a Rock Hill church who loved animals and traveling together.

Authorities have planned a press conference for this afternoon to discuss the case.