Shot 6 times, here’s what victim told police about Phillip Adams days before dying

Andrew Dys
·3 min read

One of the victims in the April 7 mass shooting in South Carolina told responding deputies after he was shot that he saw the suspect go into the house where others were killed, according to an incident report obtained Friday by The Herald.

Robert Shook was outside the home of Dr. Robert Lesslie on April 7 when he told deputies he’d been shot but saw the suspect go into the house, the incident report from the York County Sheriff’s Office states.

“The victim stated that a Black male wearing a black hoodie and camouflage pants came out of the woods surrounding the residence and opened fire,” the report stated. “He then stated that the suspect went into the house, then exited and went back through the woods the way he came.”

Shook, a heating and air condition technician, was shot six times. He died April 10 — three days after he was shot.

Dr. Robert Lesslie, 70, Lesslie’s wife, Barbara, 69, and two of their grandchildren, Adah, 9, and Noah, 5, were killed in the shooting at the Lesslie family home on Marshall Road in York County just south of Rock Hill.

Two North Carolina heating and air conditioning workers — James Lewis and Shook — also died after being shot outside the Lesslie home, officials said.

Adams, 32, was found dead at his family’s home on Marshall Road in York County hours after the mass shooting, according to a second incident report obtained by The Herald. That report was filed after deputies executed a search warrant of Adams’ home.

“Phillip Matthew Adams was located in his bedroom deceased from a gunshot wound,” the report stated.

York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson and York County Coroner Sabrina Gast said Adams committed suicide.

Workers outside the house were shot first

Shook and Lewis, the HVAC workers, were shot first outside, the sheriff said. Adams then went into the house and shot the four Lesslie family members where they were found in a workout room in the back of the house, according to Tolson and the report.

Tolson and sheriff’s office spokesman Trent Faris have declined to say specifically what evidence at the Lesslie home led to Adams being the suspect in the shootings, citing the ongoing investigation. The search warrant for the home of Phillip Adams has not yet been released, pending the ongoing investigation, Tolson said.

“We understand that there is a tremendous amount of public interest in this case and we will release further details when such release will not impact our ability to investigate these crimes,” Tolson said in a statement issued Friday. “Furthermore, our office is committed to ensuring that the families of the victims are appraised of all developments in the case before such information is released to the public.”

A motive for the shootings has not been determined, Tolson said.

Adams, a South Carolina native, was a former NFL player with the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets, and other teams after he played at S.C. State University and Rock Hill High School.

Adams’ brain has been sent to Boston University by coroner Gast for study to see whether Adams had brain injuries or CTE. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy is defined by the Boston University CTE Center as “a degenerative brain disease found in athletes, military veterans, and others with a history of repetitive brain trauma” or concussions.