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‘To know him that’s not who I knew him to be’; Friend remembers Phillip Adams as kind, community-oriented

Updated: Apr. 16, 2021 at 5:39 PM EDT
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ROCK HILL, S.C. (WBTV) - This has been a long week for several local communities after a mass shooting last week in York County.

Six people were killed—including a local doctor, his wife, their two grandkids and two men who were working at their house. Funerals for the Lesslie family happen this week—along with a funeral for James Lewis—one of the air condition repairmen. The family of the man accused in the killing is trying to piece together why something like this would happen.

”It’s kind of hard to relate what was done to how he was,” said Tynetta Moore, a family friend.

Moore does not know the Phillip Adams in the headlines.

“It’s hard to hear people call him a monster or say any of the negative things about him,” she said.

Investigators believe Adams shot and killed six people at a York County home before killing himself, but for Moore, he is the family friend and farmer who opened a store called Fresh Life. It gave people in underserved communities access to fresh fruits and veggies.

She says Adams was extremely dedicated to his community. It is all she can remember when she stands on the same street the store once was.

“He didn’t want his community efforts to be known as, ‘Oh, I was Phillip from the NFL,’” she said. “He wanted them to be known for Fresh Life. He wanted them to be known for things that were happening in the community.”

The store closed in 2019 and a new, unrelated business is set up in the spot now, but Moore says Adams’ work still ripples through the community to this day.

“For him to commit such a heinous and terrible act, it was just not who he was as a person,” she explained.

She wiped away tears with the hope answers will come soon for his family’s sake and everyone else affected by the tragedy.

”Not excusing it. Not trying to cover it up,” she said. “It’s just when people ask, ‘Who was he,’ that’s who I knew.”

Adams’ brain will be examined for CTE. It is a degenerative condition that can affect mental health. CTE has been linked to concussions. Adams had at least two concussions during his time with the NFL. The condition does not have a cure and it can only be diagnosed posthumously.

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