The attack left five dead, including two children, and a motive was not immediately known.
A gunman killed five people including a prominent doctor and his grandchildren in South Carolina, prompting an hours-long search that led to a suspect in a nearby home, according to authorities.
The York County coroner’s office said Dr Robert Lesslie, 70, and his wife, Barbara Lesslie, 69, were pronounced dead at the scene along with grandchildren nine-year-old Adah Lesslie and five-year-old Noah Lesslie.
A man who had been working at the home, James Lewis, 38, from Gaston, was found shot dead outside, and a sixth person was hospitalised with “serious gunshot wounds”, York County Sheriff’s Office’s spokesperson Trent Faris said, according to The Associated Press.
Sadly 5 people have died as a result of the shooting. Dr. Robert Lesslie & his wife, Barbara Lesslie were both found in the home & died as a result of gunshot wounds, as well as their 2 grandchildren. James Lewis of Gastonia, was working at the home & died from gunshot wounds
— YCSO_SC (@YCSO_SC) April 8, 2021
“We have found the person we believe is responsible and we are with him at this time and that’s all I can say about the suspect,” Faris said.
The AP and a local newspaper identified the gunman as former NFL player Phillip Adams. Authorities, however, have not confirmed the identity or if the gunman is dead or alive. The AP reported that Adams’ family lives close to the victims and Dr Lesslie had previously treated him.
The newspaper, citing “law enforcement sources,” said police believe Adams took his life after they surrounded the house he was in.
The South Carolina shooting also came hours before President Joe Biden unveiled a slate of executive actions aimed at curtailing gun violence, as he has increasingly called on Congress to pass more lasting legislation.
The US House of Representatives passed two gun control bills in March, but they face an uphill battle in the Senate, where Democrats would need support from 10 Republicans.
‘One of those people that everyone knows’
Authorities said deputies were called about 4:45 local time (20:45 GMT) Wednesday to the Lesslies’ home in the Rock Hill area and spent hours searching for the suspect before finding him in a nearby home.
“Dr Lesslie was my doctor growing up,” Faris said. “Dr Lesslie has been one of those people that everybody knows. He started Riverview Medical Center in Rock Hill and it’s been a staple in Rock Hill for years.”
A biography page of Dr Lesslie said he and his wife of 35 years raised four children. He had been practising medicine in Rock Hill since 1981, according to the Riverview website. He received his degree at the Medical University of South Carolina and has worked in the surrounding Rock Hill area and Charlotte, North Carolina.
Rock Hill is a city in northernmost South Carolina about 40 kilometres (25 miles) southwest of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Authorities said the investigation was continuing.