A decade ago, Phillip Adams achieved his dream of becoming an NFL player. But on Wednesday, the former San Francisco 49ers draft pick shockingly killed five people in South Carolina, including two young children.
While details remain scarce about the case, the situation took an even more tragic turn Thursday morning.
Phillip Adams spent six years in the NFL
Phillip Adams entered the NFL in 2010 as a seventh-round pick. However, the former South Carolina State standout spent just one year in San Francisco.
The New England Patriots signed Adams in September 2011. He recorded eight tackles and one interception in six games before he got released in late November.
The 6-foot, 193-pound defensive back enjoyed his most successful stint in the league as a member of the then-Oakland Raiders. Adams played 31 games (four starts) and totaled 45 tackles, two interceptions, and six passes defended.
Following his two-year run with the AFC West franchise, he returned back to the AFC East to suit up for the New York Jets. He started four games in what amounted to Rex Ryan’s final year with the team.
Adams then took his talents to the Atlanta Falcons. Although he totaled a career-high 38 tackles, he never played another NFL snap after the 2015 season. He ultimately appeared in 78 games (11 starts) during his six-year pro football career.
Adams shockingly killed five people on Wednesday
A horrifying tragedy took place in South Carolina on Wednesday. And as it turns out, Phillip Adams was at the center of it.
According to the Associated Press, the 32-year-old fatally shot five people, including a prominent doctor who lived near his parents’ home in Rock Hill. His victims have been identified by the York County coroner’s office as 70-year-old Dr. Robert Lesslie, his 69-year-old wife, Barbara Lesslie, and the couple’s 9-year-old and 5-year-old grandchildren.
In addition, Adams also killed 38-year-old Gaston resident James Lewis, who had been working at the home at the time of the incident.
York County Sherrif’s spokesperson Trent Faris said a sixth person got sent to the hospital with “serious gunshot wounds.”
While details remain scarce, a connection does exist between Adams and his victims. The former NFL player reportedly received treatment from Dr. Robert Lesslie, who worked for decades as an emergency room doctor and founded two urgent care centers in the area.
“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 and it’s been a staple in Rock Hill for years.”
A tragic loss of life
After spending hours searching for the gunman who claimed the lives of five people, the York County Sherrif’s Office finally discovered Phillip Adams in a nearby home.
An anonymous source told the AP that the former NFL player died by suicide after midnight using a .45-caliber gun.
His father, Alonzo Adams, spoke with WCNC about the tragedy that occurred.
“I can say he’s a good kid. I think the football messed him up,” he said.
He further added, “I don’t think he ever did anybody any harm. 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 told WCNC his son recently relocated from Fort Mill to Rock Hill. He said investigators came to his house Wednesday night—the location where his son died by suicide.
All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.
How to get help: In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or text HOME to 741-741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor at the free Crisis Text Line.