A South Carolina sheriff delivered an emotional remembrance during a news conference after a former NFL cornerback killed five people, including a prominent local doctor and two children, and then himself.
“Dr. Lesslie was a pillar in this community with what he was able to give back to this community. He was a longtime doctor,” York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said Thursday afternoon. “He had treated me in the past at his clinic. He was very involved with law enforcement.”
It happened in Rock Hill, S.C., about 25 miles outside Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday evening. The victims were Dr. Robert Lesslie, 70, his wife, Barbara Lesslie, 69, and their two grandchildren, ages 5 and 9, all found dead in a room at the back of the house, Tolson said. James Lewis, 39, was working at the home and found dead outside. Lewis’ coworker remained hospitalized in critical condition Thursday.
“We tend to eulogize and canonize folks and it kind of waters it down, but I would not want to water down anything that Dr. Lesslie did or meant for this community,” Tolson continued. “He knew everyone. He treated everyone with respect.”
During the news conference, the sheriff played two harrowing 911 calls.
One neighbor said he heard “about 20” shots and said he believed workers outside and family members inside the victims’ home had been shot.
Deputies arrived eight minutes later, according to Tolson. They found two HVAC workers outside. One was still alive but severely wounded, and deputies rushed him for medical treatment in a personal vehicle that was on the property, he said. They searched the home and found the Lesslie family in a back room.
Investigators said they found evidence at the scene linked to Phillip Adams, a former professional football player who lived just down the road. Deputies found Adams dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in a bedroom in his home several hours later.
York County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Trent Faris called Dr. Lesslie “a staple” in Rock Hill for years.
“I’ve lived in Rock Hill my entire life and Dr. Lesslie was my doctor growing up,” Faris said. “Dr. Lesslie has been one of those people that everybody knows. He started Riverview Medical Center in Rock Hill.”
Tolson said investigators were still seeking a motive in the attack.
“There’s nothing about this right now that makes any sense to us,” he said. “And that’s why we’re working so hard to try get more information.”
Adams, 32, last played in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons in 2015. He was a seventh-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers in 2010. He then played for the New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, Oakland Raiders and New York Jets.
Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.