Father of South Carolina shooting suspect discusses his son

Phillip Adams: Father of Rock Hill mass shooting suspect says NFL ‘messed him up’

Alonzo Adams had once been a patient of the doctor his son killed

Graig Graziosi
Friday 09 April 2021 00:11

Alonzo Adams, the father of former NFL player Phillip Adams, said his son shot six people, killing five, before killing himself in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Mr Adams says he believes his son’s football career may be at the root of whatever caused him to snap and carry out the shooting.

“I can say he’s a good kid,” Alonzo Adams said. “I think the football messed him up.”

Police officers found Mr Adams dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound just after midnight in his home.

Mr Adams is accused of killing Dr Robert Lesslie, his wife Barbara Lesslie, and their two grandchildren Adah Lesslie, 9, and Noah Lesslie, 5. He also allegedly shot and killed James Lewis, 38, who was doing work outside the house when he was killed. A sixth person was shot but survived and was hospitalised with “serious gunshot wounds”.

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Alonzo Adams confirmed that Dr Lesslie had been his doctor at some point in the past, and offered his condolences for the tragedy.

“I don't think he ever did anybody any harm,” Alonzo Adams said. “All I can say is we pray for the family. He used to be my doctor a long time ago. I know they were good folks down there. We’re gonna keep them in our prayers.”

Alonzo Adams and his wife were removed from their house by York County Sheriff’s deputies the night of the shooting as they prepared to negotiate with Mr Adams. According to York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson, evidence found at the scene of the shooting “definitively” linked Mr Adams to the crime.

Deputies went to Mr Adams’ house, where he lives with his parents, and attempted to issue a search warrant.

Mr Tolson said Mr Adams took his own life sometime after 2am.

While Alonzo Adams said he had been a patient of Dr Lesslie’s, officials said they have yet to confirm if Mr Adams also saw the doctor.

Mr Tolson described Dr Lesslie as a “pillar of the community.” “We tend to canonise and eulogise folks and that kinda waters it down, but I would not want to water down anything that Dr Lesslie did for this community,” Mr Tolson said. “He knew everyone, he treated everyone with respect. And if you reflect on the family’s statement, that is the type of that Dr Lesslie raised because that is the type of man that he was.”

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