Afternoon Observer | Rock Hill mass shooting updates + Biden announces gun control actions

Kristen Kornbluth
·3 min read

Good afternoon, Charlotte. This is Kristen. Today, we bring you sad news out of Rock Hill — there was a mass shooting Wednesday in York County that left six people dead and another wounded. A manhunt ensued and ended early Thursday when the suspect killed himself, officials said. We’ll give you more of the details below with multiple stories by talented colleagues from The Charlotte Observer, The (Rock Hill) Herald and The State.

1. Rock Hill mass shooting details: victims, suspect, community reactions

Dr. Robert Lesslie, in a 2009 file photo. Lesslie, his wife, two of their grandchildren, and a worker who was at the doctor’s Marshall Road home outside Rock Hill were all shot to death Wednesday, April 7, 2021.
Dr. Robert Lesslie, in a 2009 file photo. Lesslie, his wife, two of their grandchildren, and a worker who was at the doctor’s Marshall Road home outside Rock Hill were all shot to death Wednesday, April 7, 2021.

Six people were killed in a Wednesday mass shooting in York County. Sources say former NFL player Phillip Adams was the shooter. Here’s what we know, from reporters Andrew Dys, Tobie Perkins, Alaina Getzenberg, Cailyn Derickson, Alex Zietlow, Michael Gordon, Maayan Schechter and Lauren Lindstrom.

The victims and the suspect:

  • The victims included a prominent Rock Hill doctor, Dr. Robert Lesslie, his wife, Barbra, two of their grandchildren, Adah and Noah, and a worker, James Lewis, who was at the doctor’s home outside Rock Hill where the shootings took place, police and other officials have said. Robert Shook, another technician, was shot outside the home.

  • The suspect, who killed himself after the incident, has been identified as former NFL player Phillip Adams, the York County coroner and sources told The Herald. You can find more about Adams here.

  • The motive for the shooting remains unclear. Some media reports and information from friends have said Adams, a neighbor, had been a patient of Dr. Lesslie, but York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said his detectives have not confirmed that. “We don’t know why this happened yet,” Tolson said at a news conference Thursday.

Community reaction and background information:

  • Word of the tragedy spread quickly around Rock Hill. As emotions spilled into Wednesday night and Thursday morning, the city grieved. Professors, pastors, elected officials and other leaders shared their heartbreak.

  • York County lawmakers and the South Carolina Senate mourned Thursday the victims of the mass shooting. Sen. Wes Climer, R-York, called the victims an “incredible family” and asked for the Senate’s prayers.

  • “Everybody has something to teach us,” Lesslie once told the Observer. The slain SC doctor used to shared ER tales with readers in a weekly Observer column in the 90s.

Find our latest information on the shooting with The Herald here.

2. Biden announces gun control actions as SC reels from mass shooting

Just a day after the Rock Hill mass shooting, President Joe Biden announced sweeping gun control actions on Thursday. He shared details Thursday during his announcement about his executive actions on gun violence, which his administration called a “public health epidemic.”

“My job, the job of any president, is to protect the American people,” Biden said Thursday during his announcement. “Whether Congress acts or not, I’m going to use all the resources at my disposal as president to keep the American people safe from gun violence.”

Learn more about the announcement here.

3. Camp North End hosting vaccine clinic, Atrium releases new appointments

Camp North End will be used by Mecklenburg County Health for a COVID-19 vaccination clinic on April 17, 2021.
Camp North End will be used by Mecklenburg County Health for a COVID-19 vaccination clinic on April 17, 2021.

Camp North End will host a mass COVID-19 vaccination site next weekend, adding another place that Charlotteans can go to for vaccines as eligibility expands broadly in the state.

  • The clinic will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 17, Mecklenburg County Medical Director Dr. Meg Sullivan announced during a news briefing Thursday.

  • Exact details, including how many appointments will be available, are not final.

  • Appointments are not yet available.

“We’re hoping to make it large,” Sullivan said. The scale of the event depends on Mecklenburg’s vaccine allocation for the coming week, but health officials expect the shipment will continue to rise as vaccine production ramps up nationally.

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