ROCK HILL, S.C. (WJZY) — A South Carolina community is mourning the loss of a prominent doctor and author after Dr. Rober Lesslie, his wife, and two grandchildren were shot and killed at his home Wednesday evening.
Lesslie had worked for decades as an emergency room doctor in Rock Hill, board-certified in both emergency medicine and occupational medicine and serving as emergency department medical director for nearly 15 years at Rock Hill General Hospital, according to his website.
York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson confirmed earlier reports identifying former NFL player Phillip Adams as the shooter during a press conference Thursday, saying the shooting is still under investigation.
“There’s nothing out here that makes sense to any of us and that’s why we’re working so hard to try to get more information,” Tolson said.
Dr. Lesslie received his degree from the University of South Carolina before training in Greenville, S.C., and Charlotte. He had been practicing medicine in Rock Hill since 1981.
He founded two urgent care centers in the area and wrote a weekly medical column for The Charlotte Observer. He also wrote a book, “Angels in the ER,” collecting what he termed “inspiring true stories” from his time in the emergency department.
A biography page said he and his wife raised four children, and lived in Rock Hill “with his wife, Barbara, and their golden retriever, Moses, several miniature horses, goats, donkeys, chickens and a lot of bees.” Robert and Barbara had four children and eight grandchildren.
Both Tolson and the department’s spokesperson Trent Faris said Lesslie was a pillar of the community.
“I’ve lived in Rock Hill my entire life and 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.”
He authored several other books including, Angels on Call, Angels and Heroes, Angels on the Night Shift, and Notes from a Doctor’s Pocket.
Dr. Lesslie, his wife Barbara, and two of their grandchildren, Adah and Noah Lesslie, were among the five people killed in a mass shooting Wednesday evening.
An administrator from his website shared the following excerpt from his latest work:
“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. 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. 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.“
“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. The words of Jesus will echo through that glade—“Behold, I make all things new.” And there will come Dox, charging towards us, his ears flapping in the breeze, his golden hair and majestic tail waving in the wind, and both of his laughing, dancing eyes meeting ours.”Dr. Rober Lesslie, “Notes from a doctor’s pocket”
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.