Doctor killed by former NFL player wrote end-of-life missive shortly before death

A South Carolina emergency room physician reportedly murdered along with his wife, two grandchildren, and another man on Thursday wrote a short Christian-themed essay about the end of his life shortly before being shot by a former NFL player this week.

Dr. Robert Lesslie shared the missive with the administrator of a site where he frequently blogged not long before he and his family members were killed by former cornerback Phillip Adams.

“One day, when I depart this body and find myself in the presence of the Lord, my time, however it will be measured, will be filled with the praises and the wonder of Jesus,” Lesslie wrote, according to a post on his Facebook page.

“I know that I will once again be able to hug my mother and walk and talk with my father. There are a lot of people I want to see as well—family and friends, grandparents, some of whom I never met on this side,” the post continued. 

“And I will seek out Peter and John and the Apostle Paul, as well as other giants of the faith—men and women whose words and deeds have guided and molded my journey and my heart,” Lesslie, 70, continued.

“We have no idea what Heaven will look like, only that it will be perfect. And because of that I know that one day, when I’ve experienced the presence and joy of that surrounding host of saints, I will find myself walking with Barbara in a field of lush, green grass, surrounded by gently rising conifer-cloaked hills,” Lesslie added.

In addition to Lesslie, also murdered were his wife Barbara Lesslie, 69; their two grandchildren 9-year-old Adah and 5-year-old Noah; and James Lewis, 38. A sixth person who has yet to be identified is in the hospital as well with a serious gunshot wound.

The Associated Press reported that Adams, who was injured a number of times during his career, lived about a mile from the Lesslies in Rock Hill, S.C., and was treated by the board-certified E.R. doctor at some point.

Picked in the seventh-round 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 the Atlanta Falcons.

Lesslie was very recognizable in his community. He served for decades as an emergency room physician who was also board-certified in occupational medicine. Reports said he was the E.R. medical director for Rock Hill General Hospital, a post he had held for the past 15 years. He also founded a pair of urgent care centers and wrote a weekly medical column for the Charlotte Observer, as well as books.

“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.”

Police still do not have a motive for the killings. The AP reported that Adams killed himself shortly after midnight Thursday with a .45 caliber handgun.

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Jon Dougherty

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