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Reports: Ex-NFL Pro Phillip Adams Was S.C. Shooting Gunman

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According to the Rock Hill Herald, the gunman who shot and killed five people in South Carolina early Thursday before turning the gun on himself was a former NFL player. 

The Herald reports that Sabrina Gast, the York County, South Carolina coroner, said that Phillip Adams, 33, who played for several professional teams during his career was found dead in his family’s home in Rock Hill, a suburb of Charlotte, North Carolina, from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Additionally, down the street from Adams’ family’s home was the site of multiple homicides.

Dr. Robert Lesslie, 70, his wife, Barbara, 69, and their grandchildren Adah Lesslie, 9, and Noah Lesslie, 5, were all found dead at the scene, the coroner’s office said. Another man, James Lewis, of Gaston, South Carolina, was found shot dead outside the home, and another unidentified individual was hospitalized with “serious gunshot wounds,” the Associated Press reported.

Adams lived in the home where he was found with his mother, a former teacher. She was safely removed from the location, the Herald said. He reportedly engaged police in a standoff there before he was found dead.

Adams was a star basketball and football player at Rock Hill High School before moving on to South Carolina State University. In 2010, he joined the San Francisco 49ers as a defensive back, and played for one season before moving on to the Seattle Seahawks, the Oakland Raiders, the New York Jets, and finally the Atlanta Falcons, where he ended his pro career in 2015.

In the 2012 season, while on the Raiders, Adams suffered two concussions over three games and a groin injury. No motive for the shooting has been identified by law enforcement officials, who say the investigation is ongoing.

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It is unclear if Adams was suffering any mental health difficulties or if he was seeking any treatment. However, local Charlotte station WCNC spoke with Adams’ father, Alonzo Adams, who blamed his football career for negatively impacting him.

“I can say he’s a good kid, I think that football messed him up,” said Adams, who noted his son had recently moved From Fort Mill, S.C., back to Rock Hill. “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.”

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