Congressman Ralph Norman says slain doctor was friend of 40 years, speaks about possible motive for deadly shooting

Updated: Apr. 9, 2021 at 6:04 AM EDT
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ROCK HILL, S.C. (WBTV) - Congressman Ralph Norman said he was ‘shocked’ to hear that Dr. Robert Lesslie, Lesslie’s wife Barbara, two of their grandchildren, and another man, Robert Lewis of Gaston County, were killed in a shooting Wednesday. The deadly shooting happened at Lesslie’s home on Marshall Road in York County. Investigators believe the suspect, former NFL player Phillip Adams, took his own life after the shooting.

Norman spoke to WBTV about the York County tragedy in a Zoom interview Thursday afternoon, explaining that he had been friends with Dr. Lesslie for several years.

“I had just seen Robert at the bank on Monday. My wife had had lunch with Barbara Lesslie, his wife, on Friday. We were in a supper club together. We had known them for over 40 years,” said a solemn Norman.

He said not only is Dr. Lesslie’s death a blow for him personally, but a loss for the entire community of Rock Hill.

“He was a wonderful doctor. He was involved in so many activities. He was head of the ER for 15 years and just a real stalwart of the community,” said the congressman.

Norman also spoke about a possible motive for the killing. He explained that his understanding was that Lesslie had been providing medical treatment for Adams. Norman said he had received that information from law enforcement.

“He was treating him and stopped giving him medicine and that’s what triggered the killings from what I understand,” said Norman.

During a Thursday afternoon press conference, York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said he could not confirm any doctor-patient connection between Dr. Lesslie and Adams.

“(I) can’t confirm it – no indication of it and that’s something we certainly are looking into,” said Tolson. “We have no indication right now that there was a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Lesslie and Phillip Adams.”

Tolson also told reporters he was not the law enforcement source who had given information to Norman.

“There’s nothing about this right now that makes sense to any of us and that’s why we’re working so hard to try to get more information,” said the sheriff.

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