Two separate deadly shootings within 24 hours of each other involving former National Football League players barely registered with most major media outlets, leaving some to speculate that the killings did not fit certain political narratives.
In one, Phillip Adams, who played cornerback for six seasons (2010-2015) with six different teams, was identified as the one who allegedly shot and killed five people in Rock Hill,, S.C. before shooting himself, according to reports.
A seventh-round pick in 2010 by the San Francisco 49ers, Adams, 32, went on to play with the New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, Oakland Raiders, New York Jets, and, finally, the Atlanta Falcons.
Someone close to the investigation confirmed to The Associated Press that Adams, who is black, was the one who committed the mass shooting early Thursday.
The victims were confirmed as Dr. Robert Lesslie, 70; his wife, Barbara Lesslie, 69; their two grandchildren, and James Lewis, 39. Lewis was working in the home when the shooting began and was struck by bullets. He was found dead by police outside of the home, the Associated Press reported.
Reports said that Adams, who was injured a number of times during his career, had been treated by Lesslie at some point.
Lesslie was well-known to the community, having served for decades as an emergency room physician. He was board-certified in both emergency medicine and occupational medicine, and served as the E.R. medical director for Rock Hill General Hospital. He also founded a pair of urgent care centers and wrote a weekly medical column for the Charlotte Observer, as well as books.
Meanwhile, Palm Beach County, Florida Sheriff’s deputies arrested Travis Rudolph, 25, on first-degree murder charges Thursday following a double shooting, NBC6 reported.
Deputies said they were called to a shooting shortly after midnight in Lake Park to discover one man wounded and another dead a short distance away in West Palm Beach. The wounded man was transported to a local hospital.
Rudolph, a star wide receiver at Florida State University who signed with the New York Giants and then the Miami Dolphins, was arrested and charged with one count of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder, NBC6 reported. He was currently on the roster of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Canadian Football League, but the team released him on Wednesday.
He played for three seasons with the FSU Seminoles, ending his collegiate career with 18 touchdown catches. He was also a member of the Florida State team that went on to win the Orange Bowl at the end of the 2016 season.
The ethnicities of the two men Rudolph allegedly shot are unknown, but Lesslie and his family were white, leading some to speculate the major media passed on covering the shootings as mass murders because the identified gunmen are black.
“Dr. Lesslie was my doctor growing up,” York County Sheriff’s Office’s spokesperson Trent Faris told the AP.
“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,” he added.
The Lesslie home is located roughly a mile from where Adams was living, the AP added.
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