Former NFL player Phillip Adams may have become involved in a new religion before going on a killing rampage that left six people dead in South Carolina earlier this month.
After searching the ex-athlete’s home, detectives said they had learned that Adams ‘had been acting differently’ and was ‘possibly following a new religion or ideology’.
Investigators also discovered numerous notebooks containing ‘cryptic writing with different designs and emblems’ in Adams’ room although they indicated they were not able to determine the meanings of these.
Other items discovered at Adams’ home include several guns and various ammunition, as well as a computer and some medicine bottles.
Investigators are still trying to determine why Adams committed the violent acts, and have said they are unclear whether religion is a potential motive or if there was another one involved.
Phillip Adams, the former NFL player who killed six people in South Carolina before turning the gun on himself, may have been following a new religion or ideology before he carried out the brutal acts, detectives have said. In this 2010 picture, Adams is treated after breaking his ankle
Members of the York County Sheriff’s Office outside the home of Phillip Adams, where investigators found numerous notebooks containing ‘cryptic writing with different designs and emblems’
Search warrants issued in the immediate aftermath of the shooting show that police recovered multiple projectiles and .45 caliber spent shell casings from the scene in Rock Hill. These casings matched the weapons found inside Adams’ home
They also found several cellphones, including an iPhone in a red case that had a phone number that officers then tracked to Adams.
The former NFL player went to the home of Robert and Barbara Lesslie on April 7 and shot and killed them, two of their grandchildren, nine-year-old Adah Lesslie and five-year-old Noah Lesslie, and James Lewis, a 38-year-old air conditioning technician from Gaston who was doing work there.
He also shot Lewis’ colleague, 38-year-old Robert Shook, who was flown to a Charlotte hospital where he later died from his injuries.
Police later found Adams dead at his parents’ home with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
According to Associated Press, Adams was reportedly a patient of Lesslie, who worked for decades as an emergency room doctor. It is not known publicly why Lesslie was treating Adams.
Dr Robert Lesslie, his wife Barbara, their two grandchildren, Adah Lesslie, 9, and Noah Lesslie, 5, were killed in the shooting. The four victims are circled above in red in a family photo
It is still not known why Adams committed the violent acts, and police say they are yet to determine whether religion was a motive of if something else was involved
James Lewis (left) and Robert Shook (right) were both shot dead during Adams’ killing rampage in Rock Hill, South Carolina, earlier this month
Police have obtained a warrant for any medical records belonging to Adams or his parents at Riverview Family Medicine and Urgent Care, where Robert Lesslie practiced.
In an interview with USA Today, Adams’ sister said her brother ‘wasn’t a monster’ but that his ‘mental health degraded fast and terribly bad’ in recent years.
Lauren Adams explained that the family had noticed ‘extremely concerning’ signs of mental illness, including an escalating temper and personal hygiene neglect.
‘In conversations, it would escalate to arguments,’ she added. ‘Normally it would just be a normal conversation. His temperament had changed where he was super laid back forever and all of the sudden he had that temper. You could just tell that something was off.’
A member of the York County Sheriff’s Office walks through the yard outside the home of Phillip Adams. Items discovered at Adams’ home include several guns and various ammunition, as well as a computer and some medicine bottles
Phillip Adams intercepts a pass while playing for the Oakland raiders in 2012. As a rookie, Adams suffered a severe ankle injury with the 49ers and later with the Raiders, he had two concussions over three games
Adams, 32, played in 78 NFL games over six seasons for six teams. He joined the 49ers in 2010 as a seventh-round draft pick out of South Carolina State, and though he rarely started, he went on to play for New England, Seattle, Oakland and the New York Jets before finishing his career with the Atlanta Falcons in 2015.
Adams’ father Alonzo Phillips told WCNC that ‘football messed him up’, while his agent, Scott Casterline said that his client was ‘lost without football, somewhat depressed.’
Speaking to Associated Press, Casterline added: ‘He had an injury his rookie year.
‘Some teams wrote him off and he had that stigma of a guy who was hurt. His ability was better than a guy who bounced around a lot.
The graphic above shows where the five victims were killed at the Rock Hill home of the Lesslie family and where Adams killed himself
‘All that weighed on him heavily. He had [six] years, a great career, but he felt he had more. It was hard for him to walk away from the game, especially a guy as dedicated as he was.’
As a rookie, Adams suffered a severe ankle injury and never played for the 49ers again. Later, with the Raiders, he had two concussions over three games in 2012.
Whether he suffered long-lasting concussion-related injuries has not been immediately clear, but investigators are now looking into whether his sports career could have left him brain damaged.
Adams brain will be tested for CTE, a degenerative disease that has affected a pro athletes who have sustained repeated blows to the head. The disease has been shown to cause violent mood swings and other cognitive disorders.