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Guns, notebooks with cryptic writings seized from SC mass shooter’s home

YORK COUNTY S.C. — The York County Sheriff’s Office released search warrants in the mass shooting on April 7 that left six people dead.

The documents provide new insight into how detectives identified Phillip Adams as a suspect, and the investigation into a motive.

Detectives said they found two different caliber shell casings, a 9mm and .45 caliber, that officials determined were fired by one suspect at the scene.

They also found a can of blue Skoal tobacco dip near the front door of the home where the shooting happened and a red cellphone that belonged to Adams, according to the warrants.

Officials said they learned Adams was currently living at a home with his parents on Marshall Road in York County, not far from the shooting scene.

Investigators also learned from Rock Hill police officers that they had passed a man matching Adams’ description on a blue four-wheeler driving away from the scene toward his home, when officers initially responded to the shooting.

Police reviewed body camera footage and saw a man on a four-wheeler with a black helmet. Officials later saw a photo of a similar four-wheeler outside Adams’ home.

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Detectives then requested a search warrant for his home nearby on Marshall Road.

SWAT surrounded the home and tried to contact Adams for several hours. They later found him dead inside. Investigators said he died by suicide.

Detectives searched the home and found a black helmet that was similar to the one seen on the body camera. They also found two guns -- a Tommy style gun and MP5 style firearm -- under a couch that matched the caliber shell casings at the crime scene. A blue Skoal can of dip, similar to the one at the scene, was also found in Adams’ bedroom, according to the documents.

During the search, investigators said they found several notebooks with cryptic writing and different designs and emblems.

Investigators said they learned Adams had been acting differently and possibly was following a new religion or ideology. Detectives said it’s unclear whether this was part of a potential motive.

Authorities seized several items from the home, including at least 11 guns, several magazines, ammunition, a black full-face motorcycle helmet, a dark green North Face hoodie, notebooks, a backpack, medicine, two iPads and a MacBook.

A day later, detectives spoke with a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer who said Adams used to live in at Junction 1504 apartments in South End. The officer said when Adams moved to South Carolina, he left behind several items including guns and a gun safe.

The CMPD officer said the safe had not been touched and that the apartment complex had moved it to a storage unit. Detectives then got a search warrant for the safe, saying they believe there may be evidence related to a motive there.

As part of that investigation into a motive, detectives were also looking for medical records for Adams and his family at Riverview Family Medicine in Rock Hill, the practice of Dr. Robert Lesslie, who was killed in the shooting.

Investigators have not provided any other details on a motive at this point.

Check back with wsoctv.com for updates.

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