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Doctor and two children are among 5 killed in South Carolina shooting, authorities say

Five people were killed — including a prominent doctor, his wife and their two young grandchildren — in a shooting at a home near the South Carolina city of Rock Hill on Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.

A sixth person also was injured in the shooting, and authorities eventually found a suspect in the suspect’s home nearby, York County sheriff’s officials said early Thursday without elaborating.

Investigators believe the suspect was the only assailant, and are trying to figure out why anyone would have gunned down Dr. Robert Lesslie and some members of his family, sheriff’s spokesman Trent Faris said.

The slain grandchildren were ages 5 and 9, the York County Coroner’s Office said.

“This is a tragic, tragic situation. … None of us can figure out why” it happened, Faris told reporters early Thursday in a news conference recorded by CNN affiliate WBTV.

Authorities were called around 4:45 p.m. to a home just south of Rock Hill, a city of about 73,000 people on the other side of the state line from Charlotte, North Carolina, authorities said.

Officers found six people shot. Killed were Lesslie; his wife, Barbara Lesslie; their two grandchildren; and James Lewis, of Gastonia, North Carolina, the sheriff’s office said. Lewis was working at the home, authorities said, without elaborating.

A sixth person was taken to a hospital with “serious gunshot wounds,” Faris said. The person’s name and condition information weren’t released.

After learning a suspect may be nearby, officers found a suspect in a home on the same road, Faris said.

Faris said investigators were “with him (the suspect), serving a search warrant” at the house where the suspect lived.

But Faris declined to release the suspect’s name, or answer reporters’ questions about whether the suspect is alive.

Doctor had been practicing in area since 1981

Faris said he has lived in the area all his life and that “Dr. Lesslie was my doctor growing up.”

“Dr. Lesslie has been one of those people that everybody knows. He started Riverview Medical Center in Rock Hill and it has been a staple in Rock Hill for years,” Faris said.

“If you are from Rock Hill and you are from around this area, the people who are involved are very prominent and very well known in York County,” Faris said.

Lesslie was the founder of Riverview House Calls and Riverview Hospice and Palliative Care, according to the services’ joint website, and had been practicing in Rock Hill since 1981. In a personal bio page, Lesslie says he and his wife had been married for 40 years, raised four children and had nine grandchildren.

“In my spare time, I enjoy ​writing, golf, hunting, growing fruit and hops, and bagpiping,” the bio page says.

His website lists several books he authored, including 2008’s “Angels in the ER,” a book about faith in God and the work of nurses, doctors and others during trying circumstances during his years working in an emergency room.

“I’ve been an observer of human condition as well as a physician. There’s no better place to be an observer than the ER,” he told The Herald of Rock Hill about the book in 2008. “You find out what people are about. Everybody has something to teach us. I wanted to do this from a spiritual perspective. Once that became clear to me, it wrote itself.”

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