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Mourners In Rock Hill Fill Park To Remember Mass Shooting Victims

 Mourners gathered in Rock Hill's Fountain Park Sunday evening.
Claire Donnelly
Mourners gathered in Rock Hill's Fountain Park Sunday evening.

People filled Fountain Park in Rock Hill's Old Town area on Sunday evening to pray, sing hymns and remember the six people killed in a mass shooting last week.

Five people, including a well-known doctor and two children, were shot to death Wednesday evening. A sixth person died on Saturday afternoon after being hospitalized with serious injuries.

At the park on Sunday, a colorfully dressed crowd mourned the loss of Dr. Robert Lesslie; his wife, Barbara; their two grandchildren, Adah and Noah, ages 9 and 5; and air-conditioning technicians James Lewis and Robert Shook. Attendees had been asked to wear bright colors by the event organizers, which included First ARP Church, where the Lesslies were regulars. Organizers also passed out plastic bottles of bubbles in a rainbow of colors.

“It’s a real shock to a lot of people here,” said Don Raborn, who said he was a patient of Dr. Robert Lesslie’s for 18 years at Riverview Family Medicine and Urgent Care.

“He was an easygoing guy and he cared about his patients," Raborn said, adding that when clinic staff would suggest he book an appointment with another doctor, he’d request to see Lesslie instead. "You may have some other doctor that just wants to get you in and out and everything. He would sit there and talk with you a little bit.”

Relatives of the victims also spoke at Sunday’s vigil.

“The past few days have been certainly filled with much suffering and grief but also peppered with the most amazing treasures,” said Amy Kulbok, the daughter of Robert and Barbara Lesslie.

Kulbok read the lyrics to a song that she said 9-year-old Adah had written and that Adah’s parents had recently discovered. Caris Kulbok, the Lesslies’ granddaughter, read a letter her grandmother had written to her for her 16th birthday.

York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said last week that former professional football player Phillip Adams was the gunman in the shootings and that he later killed himself. Adams went to Rock Hill High and played at South Carolina State before going to the NFL in 2010.

Adams’ parents lived near the Lesslie’s home in York County, and his father told Charlotte TV station WCNC that he had recently moved in.

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Claire Donnelly is WFAE's health reporter. She previously worked at NPR member station KGOU in Oklahoma and also interned at WBEZ in Chicago and WAMU in Washington, D.C. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and attended college at the University of Virginia, where she majored in Comparative Literature and Spanish. Claire is originally from Richmond, Virginia. Reach her at cdonnelly@wfae.org or on Twitter @donnellyclairee.