Sister of Accused Gunman: 'Something Was Off'

Phillip Adams' sister says there were 'extremely concerning' signs of mental distress
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 9, 2021 11:20 AM CDT
Sister of Ex-NFLer Suspected in Shooting: 'He Wasn't a Monster'
In this Dec. 26, 2010, file photo, then-San Francisco 49ers cornerback Phillip Adams, center, is attended to after injuring his ankle during a game.   (AP Photo/Tom Gannam, File)

A sister of Phillip Adams, the former NFL cornerback accused of fatally gunning down a prominent doctor and four others in South Carolina on Wednesday before taking his own life, is speaking out, and she says the past couple of years were ones in which Adams' mental health took a rapid dive. "He wasn't a monster," Lauren Adams tells USA Today. "He was struggling with his mental health.'' She tells the paper her brother's mental state "degraded fast" in recent years, leading to "unusual behavior" that became increasingly aggressive, though not violent, usually in the form of talks that disintegrated into verbal arguments. "He was super laid-back forever and all of the sudden he had that temper," Lauren Adams says, adding these signs became "extremely concerning." "You could just tell that something was off." She says her brother couldn't even bear to watch football on TV following his 2015 retirement, and that he'd leave the room or ask to have it turned off.

Phillip Adams' agent, Scott Casterline, who tells the AP that Adams didn't drink or do drugs—an assertion backed up by others—says Adams seemed "lost" and "somewhat depressed" without football. He adds Adams' problems may tie back to a bad ankle injury he suffered during his rookie year, leading some teams to discount him. He also suffered two concussions during his career. Still, Casterline says this week's tragedy was "so unlike him. He had to not be in his right mind, obviously." On Thursday, York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson seemed just as baffled about a motive, noting there was no apparent sign of anything stolen from the property of Robert Lesslie, the well-respected doctor who was killed, nor confirmation Adams, 32, had been Lesslie's patient. "There's nothing about this that makes sense to any of us," he said, per Yahoo Sports. (Read more mass shootings stories.)

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