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NFL Player Phillip Adams Kills 5, Then Himself In South Carolina


In York County, S.C., people are trying to make sense of the killings of a well-known doctor and four other people. The county sheriff says a former professional football player shot them, then later killed himself. David Boraks of WFAE in Charlotte has more.

DAVID BORAKS, BYLINE: The shootings happened late Wednesday afternoon at the home of Dr. Robert Leslie in a rural area about 30 miles south of Charlotte. A neighbor who called 911 said he saw a man running away. Sheriff's deputies searched for hours before finding Adams early yesterday at his parents' home nearby, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot. Here's York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson.


KEVIN TOLSON: There's nothing about this right now that makes sense to any of us, and that's why we're working so hard to try to get more information.

BORAKS: The sheriff says Adams went to Dr. Leslie's home armed with two pistols. He shot and killed the 70-year-old doctor, his wife and two grandchildren, ages 9 and 5. Also killed was an air conditioning technician working in the home, found shot to death outside, and another worker was hospitalized in critical condition. The 33-year-old Adams was a defensive back until 2015 for the Atlanta Falcons. He also played in New York, Seattle, Oakland and San Francisco during a career in which he suffered multiple concussions. His father, Alonzo Adams, speaking to TV station WCNC, wondered if that had anything to do with it.


ALONZO ADAMS: He's a good kid. He was a good kid. And he - I think the football messed him up. You know, I don't think he ever did anybody any harm.

BORAKS: Sheriff Tolson called Dr. Leslie, quote, "a pillar of the community" in Rock Hill, S.C., and said he had seen Dr. Leslie as a patient himself. Leslie was an emergency room doctor and the author of 12 books, including "Angels In The ER" with inspiring stories about doctors, nurses and patients. He founded a well-known medical clinic and was medical director for Winthrop University, and he was a regular at First ARP Church in Rock Hill, where Jon Oliphant is associate pastor.

JON OLIPHANT: We are heartbroken over the tragic loss of these four church members that we loved so deeply and cared about. And our hearts go out to others - the other victims and to the family of the one who did this horrible thing.

BORAKS: The sheriff says they're still searching for a motive, but there's nothing in Adams' background to help understand why this happened.

For NPR News, I'm David Boraks in York County, S.C.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

David Boraks