Police looking at possible religious motive in Phillip Adams shooting: ‘His mental health degraded fast’

Ryan Young
·2-min read

Investigators believe that former NFL player Phillip Adams may have been following a new religion or ideology before he shot and killed six people and himself in South Carolina earlier this month.

Law enforcement, per USA Today, found several notebooks with “cryptic writing with different designs and emblems” at Adams' home. Detectives, a search warrant said, were not sure if this was part of a potential motive.

Adams allegedly “emerged from the woods” near the home of Dr. Robert Lesslie and “opened fire” on April 7. Police said that he killed six people at the home — Lesslie, his wife, their two grandchildren and two HVAC technicians who were working on the house. One of the technicians, who died days later, said he saw Adams go into the house before leaving and going “back through the woods the way he came.”

He was then found “deceased from a gunshot wound” at his nearby home. His brain is being tested for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE — the degenerative brain disease that can occur as a result of repeated brain trauma, which has been found in football players after death.

‘His mental health degraded fast’

Adams’ sister, Lauren, spoke to USA Today and was unaware about any new religion or ideology that he may have been following. He was, though, a religious person.

“He would just say that God’s got us,” she said, via USA Today.

Lauren said that her brother was writing a book, but didn’t know what it was about. She did notice that “his handwriting changed drastically.”

“I’ve never seen anything like it,’’ she said, via USA Today. “Just makes me think more that something was going on inside his head. … It was almost like another person was writing.’’

Adams played in the NFL for six seasons for six different teams, and last appeared with the Atlanta Falcons in 2015. He had recently moved back into his parents’ home in Rock Hill, South Carolina, in recent weeks, per the report.

His behavior over the past several years, Lauren said, had changed drastically.

“His mental health degraded fast and terribly bad,’’ Lauren said, via USA Today. “There was unusual behavior. I’m not going to get into all [the symptoms]. We definitely did notice signs of mental illness that was extremely concerning, that was not like we had ever seen.

"He wasn't a monster. He was struggling with his mental health."

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