Longtime neighbor, investigators still asking why ex-NFL player went on shooting spree

Nation and World News

Adams’ sister told USA Today his “mental health degraded fast and terribly bad” and he was going through a disability claim with the NFL.

YORK, S.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – The York County Coroner’s office will partner with Boston University to study the brain of Phillip Adams, the ex-NFL player who murdered five people including two young children, critically wounded another, and then killed himself.

It is unclear if Adams suffered long-term concussions injuries stemming from his football career. Investigators will work to identify possible brain injuries, including Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), which is known to cause emotional and behavioral problems.

There was no answer at Adams’ parent’s home Friday, where he took his life. A cleaning crew was seen coming in and out of the home.

Next door, longtime neighbor Duane Belue is still in shock.

“I don’t know what could happen to somebody to make them do that,” he said.  

Belue has known Adams for more than 30 years.

“I feel bad talking about how good a kid Phillip was when you got five people murdered down the road,” said Belue. “But the truth is this young man, he was a good guy and I don’t understand a reason how this could have happened.”

Adams’ sister told USA Today his “mental health degraded fast and terribly bad” and he was going through a disability claim with the NFL.

Investigators are still trying to learn why Adams gunned down Dr. Robert Lesslie, his wife Barbara, and their two young grandkids ages 5 and 9.

Belue spoke with Adams’ father shortly after the shooting.

“We were just talking about how terrible it was,” he said. “And he was upset about Dr. Lesslie’s family and his own son. It was a lot. There wasn’t much he could say.”

Two repairmen working at Lesslie’s home were also shot. One was killed. The lone survivor, Robert Shook, was listed as “very critical,” the sheriff said Thursday. A family member wrote on Facebook that he was shot at least six times.

“Only God can work this miracle,” the family member wrote. “Only God will ever know what triggered this thing to happen.”

Investigators have no evidence, at this time, that Adams was a patient of Lesslie. He lived down the street from the prominent doctor.

Retired FBI special agent Joseph Lewis of Charlotte says that will be a main focus of the investigation along with his mental state.

The medical examiner will want to know if Adams suffered any long-lasting brain injuries playing football that may have affected his mental state.

“Based on your professional experience how likely is it that this was a totally random case?” asked FOX 46 reporter Matt Grant.

“It’s probably very unlikely,” said Lewis. “Those things do not happen. Particularly on the spur of the moment.”

“What does it tell you about someone who would snap like this?” asked Grant.

“I would suspect that he had some mental issues,” said Lewis.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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