A prominent Rock Hill, South Carolina, doctor, his wife and two grandchildren were among five victims in a shooting.
Former NFL player Phillip Adams killed five people Wednesday in Rock Hill, South Carolina, before later taking his life, the York County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Thursday afternoon.
The victims were Dr. Robert Lesslie, 70, Barbara Lesslie, 69, and grandchildren Adah Lesslie, 9, and Noah Lesslie, 5. Police said James Lewis, 38, was found dead outside. He had been working at the family’s home for an air conditioning and heating repair company. Sheriff Kevin Tolson said Robert Shook, who was working alongside Lewis for the same company, was also shot and is in critical condition.
Police went to the nearby home of Adams’ parents and tried to get Phillip Adams to surrender. His parents were later evacuated. Once inside, police found Adams dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
In an interview Thursday morning with Charlotte, North Carolina, TV station WCNC, Alonzo Adams, whom WCNC identified as Phillip Adams’ father, told a reporter that his son “was a good kid. I think the football messed him up.”
Alonzo Adams added that they were praying for the family. He added about his son, “He didn’t talk much and he didn’t bother nobody.”
Phillip Adams played for the Jets in 2014. (Photo: Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports)
Adams, 32, had bounced around the NFL in various stops as a journeyman cornerback, never quite ascending to a full-time starter. He officially played six seasons in the league, from 2010-15, for six different teams. Originally a seventh-round draft pick for the 49ers, Adams played just one season in San Francisco, where he took on special teams work and was a reserve in the secondary.
He totaled 13 tackles and one pass deflection in 15 games in San Francisco as he dealt with a nagging ankle injury.
‘NOTHING MAKES SENSE’: Police: Former NFL player shot and killed five people
COLLEGE CAREER: Phillip Adams played college football at South Carolina State
Adams did not make the 49ers’ roster before the 2011 season, as the team cut him in September. He then latched on with the Patriots, where he played six games in the 2011 season when injuries hit the team’s defensive backfield. He registered eight tackles, one pass deflection and his first career interception in New England. The Patriots released him in November 2011 and he later signed with the Seahawks, where he played just one game.
The 2012 season was when Adams’ football career saw more stability.
The Seahawks released Adams, but the Raiders added him in the preseason. He played in 15 games and eventually worked his way into two spot starts late in the season after he picked off passes in consecutive games in Weeks 13 and 14.
Former Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie, now senior personnel executive for the Dolphins, told USA TODAY Sports on Thursday that Adams was a hard worker.
“I remember him being appreciative; a gracious that-he-was-on-the-team kind of guy,” McKenzie said. “A very hard worker … I never had a coach, trainer, strength coach or teammate say they had any issue with him. He was a non-issue guy. He just wasn’t talented enough. That’s why he bounced around. He got opportunities, though, because he worked hard.”
He said he signed Adams because they were thin and needed a punt returner. Adams posted 15 tackles and five pass deflections in 2012 and was their main punt returner with 25 returns for 139 yards.
He continued to face several injury issues, but the Raiders re-signed Adams for the 2013 season to another one-year deal. He continued to return punts, though in a reduced role with only eight returns for 59 yards. The 2013 season was the only one in his career when he played in all 16 games.
The Raiders did not re-sign Adams for the 2014 season. The Jets, who were depleted at cornerback, then signed him in September 2014.
Dennis Thurman, currently the defensive coordinator at Jackson State, was the Jets’ defensive coordinator when Adams spent his year with team in 2014.
“He was a fairly quiet kid,” Thurman said. “Didn’t say a whole lot. Seemed to be serious most of the time, very business-minded. Not sure what anybody promised him about starting, but I always felt like he had a chip on his shoulder.
“He wasn’t a bad kid at all, in any way, shape or form. Just very serious. That’s what I remember about him.”
Adams appeared in 12 games for the Jets, starting four and had one interception, one fumble recovery and 24 total tackles.
“… It’s just so tough for that family (with the four victims),” Thurman added. “Tough for everybody. Everybody lost something.”
His final chance came in 2015 with the Falcons, whose head coach, Dan Quinn, had some familiarity with him from a short stint in Seattle. Adams served primarily as the backup nickelback. He recorded a career-high 38 tackles with one interception, one forced fumble and four pass deflections in 13 games, three of which were starts.
A person who worked with Adams told USA TODAY Sports that as a person, he didn’t really stand out and blended in, carrying himself with a quiet demeanor, keeping to himself at times but pleasant.
The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation.
Contributing: The Associated Press