Washington: At least five people are dead, including two children, in what police in York County, S.C. called a “case of a mass shooting.”
Four of the victims came from what authorities described as a “very prominent and very well-known” family in the community. They include Robert Lesslie, a 70-year-old doctor; his wife, Barbara Lesslie, 69; and two grandchildren, Adah, 9, and Noah, 5. The fifth victim, James Lewis, 38, of Gastonia, N.C., was working at the home at the time of the shooting.
The York County Sheriff’s Office announced early Thursday that it had found and identified the suspected gunman, whose name has not been made public, at a nearby house in Rock Hill, about 25 miles from Charlotte, N.C., after an hours-long search.
Sixth person injured
The Associated Press reported that the suspect, whom it identified as former NFL player Phillip Adams, 32, killed himself early Thursday. The Washington Post has yet to confirm the suspect’s identity, and police have not yet said whether the suspect is dead.
A sixth person was injured in the shooting and taken to a hospital for “serious gunshot wounds,” York County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Trent Faris said at a news conference.
“It doesn’t happen here,” Faris - who had Robert Lesslie as his doctor growing up - said of the shooting. “It’s one of those strange things that a lot of people are going to have a hard time understanding.”
The South Carolina attack comes on the heels of mass shootings in the Atlanta area and Boulder, Colo., which have renewed calls from lawmakers and others to ban assault weapons. On Thursday, President Joe Biden is expected to announce executive actions focused on curbing gun violence, his first initiatives on guns as president.
Police responded to the scene just before 5 p.m. Wednesday after a report of a multiperson shooting on Marshall Road. When police arrived, they said, they found the four family members dead inside the home and Lewis outside.
No active threat
Shortly after 1:30 a.m. Thursday, police announced that they had identified the person they believed to be the gunman.
“We have IDed the person we feel is responsible for the shooting on Marshall Rd,” the sheriff’s office tweeted. “There is no active threat to the community.”
An hours-long search for the suspect stretched into Wednesday night and the early hours of Thursday, police said. Authorities described the suspect as a young Black man wearing a hoodie and camouflage pants.
The Lesslie family has been a mainstay in the Rock Hill community for 40 years, and the 70-year-old doctor founded Riverview House Calls & Riverview Hospice and Palliative Care. According to the medical center’s website, the doctor and his wife had four children and eight grandchildren.
In his news conference, Faris acknowledged that the doctor had cared for him growing up.
“Dr. Lesslie has been one of those people that everybody knows,” he said.
The investigation is ongoing, police said.