York County community holds prayer vigil for Lesslie family


ROCK HILL, S.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE)- Friends, family and the wider community in York County are mourning the loss of a beloved doctor, his wife and his two grandchildren.

The ER doctor was described as a “Renaissance Man.”

Dr. Robert Lesslie and his wife, Barbara, were family people. Dr. Lesslie was also an important part of the family at Riverview Medicine and Urgent Care.

The community is holding a prayer vigil on Sunday evening at Fountain Park in Rock Hill. Beth Langley, a longtime Rock Hill resident, who has been friends with the family for decades, is hosting the event with Rev. C.T. Kirk of Sanctuary of Life Outreach Center in Rock Hill.

A family friend asks gatherers to wear bright colors and come in a spirit of “joy and hope.” Non-perishable food donations and children’s books will also be collected in memory of the grandkids, Adah and Noah Lesslie.

Dr. Lesslie was an emergency room physician at Piedmont Medical Center for well over fifteen years. He also served as the medical director at the hospital, and as the medical director at Winthrop University for more than 25 years.

The Lesslie family was also very active at First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Rock Hill.

A family friend, Congressman Ralph Norman, says Dr. Lesslie wrote books and did charity work with ‘Camp Joy,’ for kids with disabilities.

Norman says Dr. Lesslie and his wife Barbara loved their grandchildren dearly. They spent a lot of time with them at home and at the beach.

The family friend says they built two houses for their children and grandchildren on a property on Marshall Road to live right next to them.

Lesslie, his wife and his two grandchildren, nine-year-old Addah Lesslie and five-year-old Noah Lesslie were killed when a gunman stormed inside their house yesterday.

The community is just in deep sadness and shock. A small memorial is growing outside of the doctor’s practice, Riverside Family Medicine on Indian Hook Road.

The practice is closed today to mourn the loss of Dr. Lesslie, his wife and grandchildren.

A note left on the door of the office read, “We regret to inform you that a tragedy has struck our Riverview family. To allow out staff time to process what has happened, we will be closed on April 8th. We sincerely regret any inconvenience this has caused you and ask for your understanding during this difficult time. We will post updates on a reopening date on our website and Facebook page. Please keep our loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.”

People have left cards and flowers outside of the practice to remember the doctor and his family.

“He’s given more medicine away than any doctor I know. That’s why he’s so beloved he treated anybody, he was a family man, brilliant, there was an orthopedist who had a heart attack, other doctors froze,” the friend said. “Just a brilliant person.”

 An emergency room nurse also knew the doctor and says he was a great mentor.

The nurse was a new graduate in the ER and looked up to Dr. Lesslie. She says he taught her a lot in her first days as a nurse. They worked together in the emergency room years ago at Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill.

The nurse says Dr. Lesslie “adored” his family, his wife, his children and his grandchildren. She’s heartbroken after learning about the tragic incident.   

“He cared about his patients,” nurse Connie McIntyre said. “He took a lot of time and concern with the patients,” she said.

Allison Hope, who lived near the suspect, says the roads were blocked off for hours. Once she finally made it home, he could hear deputies on a bullhorn shouting at the mass murder suspect Phillip Adams.

Hope says she’s known Adams, for years. She says she had noticed Adams at the home recently and believes he moved back in with his parents.

She tells FOX 46 she thought he was doing work at a nearby produce stand and knew he played in the NFL, but didn’t know much else about him other than he would see him out at his parents’ house regularly.

 Hope says she just can’t fathom what his parents are going through, and the Lesslie family.

“[It’s] mind blowing and something I don’t wish upon anyone and especially the Lesslies. To lose parents and children at the same time, my heart goes out to them,” Hope said. “I can’t imagine what they’re feeling right now.”

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