Beloved Christian Doctor Robert D. Lesslie Who Was Killed in South Carolina Shooting Along With His Wife and Two Grandchildren Wrote About Angels, Miracles, and the Fragility of Life

Dr. Robert Lesslie in Rock Hill, S.C., on March 12, 2009. (John D. Simmons / The Charlotte Observer via AP file)

Friends of the South Carolina doctor who authorities said was killed, along with three family members, by a former pro football player recalled on Friday the physician’s love of writing and passion for medicine and animals.

Dr. Robert Lesslie, 70; wife Barbara Lesslie, 69; grandchildren Adah Lesslie, 9, and Noah Lesslie, 5; and heating and air conditioning technician James Lewis, 38, were all gunned down Wednesday at the doctor’s home in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Lesslie was the founder and medical director of Riverview House Calls and Riverview Hospice and Palliative Care, according to the company’s website. He received his medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina and practiced in Rock Hill for 40 years, the website said.

He and his wife had four adult children and eight grandchildren.

The suspected killer, Phillip Adams, later died by apparent suicide, the sheriff’s office said Thursday. Adams was a former pro football player, a journeyman cornerback who played six seasons in the NFL.

No motive was immediately known.

A prolific author

Lesslie was a prolific author who penned more than a dozen books about the intersection of medicine and faith.

Nancy B. Kennedy — whose book “Miracles & Moments of Grace: Inspiring Stories From Doctors” was published side by side with the doctor’s “Miracles in the ER” — said she was “gutted” by the slaying, which she called “senseless” and “so evil.”

Kennedy said she was always struck by Lesslie’s ability to learn valuable life lessons from patients, no matter if they were one-time visits or he saw them over the course of long-time treatments.

“He thought deeply about these encounters that were sometimes just minutes long, and he drew such meaningful lessons from them,” Kennedy told NBC News.

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SOURCE: NBC News, Caroline Radnofsky and David K. Li