Ex-NFL Player Who Killed Five People Had Stopped Being Given His Medicine, Congressman Says
"He wasn't a monster. He was struggling with his mental health,” his sister said.
April 08, 2021 at 8:01 pm
Update (April 9, 2021): The sister of former NFL player Phillip Adams, who died by suicide after allegedly fatally shooting five others, revealed that her brother was struggling with his mental health and that it had “degraded fast and terribly bad.”
Lauren Adams told USA Today that she thinks some of her brother's mental health issues can be traced back to his days in the NFL, which started in 2010 after he concluded his college career at South Carolina State.
“In conversations, it would escalate to arguments,’’ she said. “Normally it would just be a normal conversation. His temperament had changed where he was super laid back forever and all of the sudden he had that temper. You could just tell that something was off."
Although Lauren said her brother didn’t exhibit any violent behavior, she did acknowledge that he’d become aggressive recently.
"He wasn't a monster. He was struggling with his mental health,” she shared.
As Blavity previously reported, Phillip went to the home of adored South Carolina doctor Robert Lesslie and his family on Wednesday with a .45-caliber firearm. Robert, his wife Barbara Lesslie and his grandchildren Adah Lesslie, 9, and Noah Lesslie, 5, were all killed in the mass shooting. Two men who were working on the house’s air condition were also shot and one of the technicians was killed in the hostile invasion, CNN reports.
According to a source who spoke to the Associated Press, Phillip had been treated by Robert in the past. ESPN detailed that throughout the six years he played, Phillip endured at least two concussions, both of which came as late as 2012. He would later retire two years later in 2014.
Ex-NFL pro Phillip Adams, 32, 'kills doctor, 70, his wife and their two grandkids'— Billy (@Billy2_O) April 8, 2021
"Adams is suspected of shooting dead Lesslie, 70, and his wife, Barbara Lesslie, 69, along with grandchildren Adah Lesslie, 9, and Noah Lesslie, 5, and James Lewis, 38..."https://t.co/lMBw5tPmAF pic.twitter.com/34P5pszAlv
In an interview with WBTV News reporter Alex Giles on Thursday, U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman revealed that Robert had been treating Phillip and stopped prescribing him an undisclosed medication.
“Did you say that he [Robert] was treating Adams?” Giles asked. “Or that it was your understanding that he had been treating Adams?”
“My understanding, he was treating him and stopped giving him medicine,” Norman said. “And that’s what triggered the killings, from what I understand.”
NEW: @RepRalphNorman tells me his understanding is that Dr. Robert Lesslie was treating Phillip Adams and had stopped giving Adams medication - he says he was told that triggered the killings - Norman says he was told this by law enforcement. @WBTV_News pic.twitter.com/5u7TzOY3iP— Alex Giles WBTV (@AlexGilesNews) April 8, 2021
Linda Adams said she believes her brother Phillip was seeing a therapist before he retired from football as well as other doctors for his mental health issues, USA Today reports.
Lauren expressed that her brother discussed applying for disability benefits with the league, but faced obstacles in getting the support he needed.
“I know he had been applying for disability and he said they were making it hard for him. And towards the end he felt like they were trying to basically stiff him on money,” she said.
Original (April 8, 2021): Phillip Adams, who spent six seasons playing in the NFL, has been named as the mass shooter behind a horrifying killing of a widely-adored medical expert and his grandchildren, ESPN reported.
Robert Lesslie, his wife Barbara Lesslie, and his grandchildren Adah Lesslie, 9, and Noah Lesslie, 5, were pronounced dead at the scene along with James Lewis, who worked at the house. Adams came to the home on Wednesday with a .45-caliber weapon. Another person is in the hospital with multiple gunshot wounds, York County Sheriff's Office's spokesperson Trent Faris told ESPN.
After killing Lesslie and his family, the 32-year-old former defensive back fled to his parents' home, which is nearby, and barricaded himself inside. Police evacuated both of Adams' parents, York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson told the Associated Press.
Neighbor Allison Hope told ESPN she was evacuated from her home as police negotiated with Adams. They spoke with him over a loudspeaker and even sent a robot into his home to check for bombs. Adams eventually shot himself.
"This is something I can't grasp yet. I can't put it all together and I'm trying to, and I witnessed it. I feel bad for him because if it was mental or something going on in his life or whatever, you know, he needed help, and that's the sad part," Hope said.
The Associated Press reported that Adams had been treated by Lesslie in the past for a number of injuries sustained during his career.
ESPN noted that throughout the 78 NFL games he played, Adams sustained at least two concussions, both of which came as late as 2012. He retired in 2014.
His father, Alonzo Adams, said football was why things went wrong for his son.
"I can say he's a good kid -- he was a good kid, and I think the football messed him up. He didn't talk much and he didn't bother nobody. 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," his father told WCNC-TV.
"He was part of my family. I loved him. He's a great kid, a great guy. This is so unlike him. He had to not be in his right mind, obviously," Adams' former agent Scott Casterline told The Associated Press.
The athlete grew up in Rock Hill, according to The Charlotte Observer, and came back after playing for five NFL teams. He was well known in the area because of his success in college and the NFL.
"All of us who knew Philip are shaking our heads. He struggled away from the game. I tried to get him to come to Texas. I was going to find him a job, but he wouldn't leave South Carolina because he had a son. He was a good father. Seeing Philip shoot two kids, it's not him. I can't fathom it. It's devastating for the victims and the families," Casterline added.
Lesslie was a widely adored emergency room doctor who spent 15 years as emergency department medical director at Rock Hill General Hospital.
The 70-year-old owned two urgent care centers, had written a book about his life in the emergency room and had a weekly column that he wrote for The Charlotte Observer.
"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," Faris told ESPN.
He previously played for the New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, the then-Oakland Raiders, New York Jets and the Atlanta Falcons.