Former 49er Suspected of Murder-Suicide in South Carolina

A well-respected doctor, his wife and their two grandchildren were shot and killed inside a South Carolina home by a man law enforcement officials have identified as Phillip Adams, a former professional football player who was originally drafted by the San Francisco 49ers.

A little before 4:45pm Wednesday, Adams allegedly forced his way into the home that Dr. Robert Lesslie shared with his wife, Barbara, just south of Rock Hill, according to York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson.

Adams then allegedly shot the Lesslies and their two young grandchildren, 9-year-old Adah Lesslie and 5-year-old Noah Lesslie, along with two air-conditioning repairmen who were on the property at the time—one of whom, James Lewis of Gastonia, also died.

The second repairman, whose name was not disclosed, is in “very critical” condition at a hospital, Tolson said.

After searching the area, law enforcement officers found Adams dead at about 2:30am Thursday from a single self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head at a nearby home, where he lived with his parents, according to sheriff’s officials.

“We did recover evidence at the scene that linked Mr. Adams to the (Lesslie home) definitively,” Tolson said during a live-streamed news conference Thursday.

He said Adams used two firearms, a .45 and 9 mm, during the killings.

“We don’t have any indication they were illegally obtained,” Tolson said.

He also said that while investigators are still searching for a motive, including the possibility that Adams was upset at being denied medication, they “have no indication right now there was a doctor-patient relationship” between Adams and Dr. Lesslie.

“There’s nothing about this right now that makes sense to any of us,” Tolson said.

“Dr. Lesslie was a pillar of this community,” he said. “He knew everyone. He treated everyone with respect.”

Adams played football for nearby Rock Hill High School, was drafted in 2010 by the 49ers out of South Carolina State as a defensive back and played for a variety of teams until 2015, including the then-Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons.

During the news conference Thursday, Tolson read a statement from the victims’ families that highlighted their reliance on faith to help see them through their shock and grief.

“We are truly in the midst of the unimaginable. The losses we are suffering cannot be uttered at this time,” reads a portion of the statement. “Our hearts are bent towards forgiveness and peace, towards love and connectedness, towards celebration and unity.”

The 49ers did not immediately return a request for comment.


  1. Brutal murder of five, no mention of race, not of the shooter nor the victims. Also, not a hint of speculation about hatred, no divisive quote from the Imbecile in Chief, no flame-fanning lies or exaggerations added.

    This is one of those rare reports that reminds us of that journalism can actually be a real thing, not just a cloak for culture-destroying idiots.

  2. This is a sad and tragic story by any measure for both the victims and for their killer. And all their people.
    Wish I could join you Phu Tan Elli in admiration of the objectivity of this report. But I’m cynical and can’t help wondering if it might have taken an “angle” had the assailant been white.

  3. If nothing else; I am very grateful that my beloved team since 1964 when I went to my first NFL game that took place at Kesar Stadium beating the visiting Bears decisively. The energy in that stadium was intoxicating, especially at four years old! No, IDK what was going on, of course not! I did know however who the red white and gold were, I knew who Brodie and YA were, and I knew when they scored a Touchdown or Field Goal! By the time I was six, I had attended a great many scrimmages at Kesar and too many to count in Candlestick Park and had a working understanding of NFL & NCAA football and it’s mechanics that had me wanting to be a 49er more and more every game, win or lose.

    After many afternoons watching the 49ers lose and lose and lose and lose; watching our star players being traded when we needed them the most, owners unwilling to invest the required money to pay a championship caliber franchise in a brutal division then and now; when the DeBartilo’s acquired the team, spent some money, went out and found the Guru of the game of NFL football, Bill Walsh. The team was classy before but with the acquisitions of Joe Montana and the litany of all pro, first class players that followed setting a very high standard for success, physically, mentally, emotionally and MORALLY!

    In the mid nineties, the culture started to have some behaviors; (benign to begin with) that were a little unsettling; at least very different from the well disciplined, integrity ingrained; “classy” San Francisco 49ers. Deon Sanders was the beginning of a too long a list representing players who became problematic, behaviorally unrestrained with unacceptable sportsmanship; acting like jackasses. Terrell Owens taking the ball from the endzone to the Dallas star in the center of the Cowboy’s stadium was a glaring example (of what for many seamed benign), of the culture showing some weaknesses in its integrity that took the 49ers to five Super Bowls.

    Meanwhile, all around the NFL, other teams were having star power becoming “Fall Power” bringing down a teams morality, ethic and competitiveness. Players being arrested and worse convicted of very serious offenses, disturbing acts of cruelty and violence, was becoming a common theme. Michael Vic’s animal cruelty conviction is just one of the many examples of the kind of gross defilement’s of life; dehumanization of spouse’s; wives, assault and battery- pure brutality resulting in life threatening injuries or death. Murder is not without representation of the many grossly nefarious criminal NFL players. The SF 49ers had a unprecedented run of “THUGS” being signed to the franchise! Alson Smith of course the top of that list of rejects and waste of life. From Ricky Waters to Ruben Foster, the 49ers have had a horrible bout of poor vetting of prospects and players. When Harbaugh left, the problem became an epic epidemic of nefarious plays until Shannahan and Lynch brought the Raines in stopping the coach of self distraction; turning it around the other direction with a handful of veterans and a sea of rookies that were properly vetted, evaluated and becoming very successful. Bill Walsh 2.0. Every team that takes on a mentally hostile, unsportsmanlike toxic culture and fan base has very quickly devolved and with a losing record shortly there after. Seattle’s Legends of Boom is an excellent example. Eagles, Browns, Dallas. Oakland and many others have gone through a period that is negative and hostile finding themselves in trouble having to take out the trash completely rebuilding from the grounds keeper up! The 49ers did this 2018. Trent Williams was the only player on the 2019 squad that went to the Super Bowl second year of removing an entire team rebuilding anew.

    I think all that money exasperated these players who were criminally negligent and insane; a feeling of being an exception because of star power has these men experiencing delusions of grandeur and superiority. Whatever the case, it is depressingly tragic and heartbreaking. Hopefully the 49ers have learned this lesson and put their sins behind them and that the rest of the NFL will soon follow suit..

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