Former player Phillip Adams is suspected of killing five people before taking his own life on Wednesday in South Carolina.
A man shot dead five people, including two children, on Wednesday in the US state of South Carolina, the local sheriff said, and the shooter, a former professional football player, committed suicide, according to US media.
The suspect, identified by the local daily The Charlotte Observer and CNN as former San Francisco 49ers player Phillip Adams, allegedly killed the gun victims late in the afternoon in his hometown of Rock Hill, York County, before returning to the family home, where he allegedly committed suicide shortly after midnight.
The five victims are a 70-year-old doctor, his wife of 69, and two of their grandchildren, aged 9 and 5, as well as a 38-year-old man who worked outside their home, a York County Sheriff’s spokesperson Trent Faris said. A sixth person was hospitalized, suffering “serious gunshot wounds,” according to Faris.
Contacted by AFP, the York County coroner’s office declined to confirm the identity of the suspect, referring to a press conference to be held in the evening. Also contacted, the sheriff’s office did not immediately follow up.
This quintuple murder comes at a time when the United States has been facing an explosion in gun violence since last year, and was rocked by two killings in early 2021, in Atlanta (Georgia) and Boulder (Colorado).
US President Joe Biden, who on Thursday unveiled a limited plan to fight guns, blasted the “epidemic” and “international shame” of gun violence in the United States. In an address to the White House to outline his plan, he cited the Rock Hill shooting as an example of such epidemic violence.
“Football screwed him up”
Asked by local television station WCNC, Alonzo Adams, the suspect’s father, said, “I think (American) football screwed him up.” Mr Adams told WCNC that his son had recently relocated to his home.
A former college athlete, Phillip Adams had seen his professional career marked by injuries, including concussions. He had played for the 49ers, as well as the New England Patriots and New York Jets, in particular, before ending his career in 2015 with the Atlanta Falcons.