Randy Robert Stair, the 24-year-old YouTuber-turned-killer apparently spent months meticulously planning a mass murder-suicide. Rather than keep his plans secret, he left a dark trail of hints and clues online, revealing his capacity for mass murder to those who bothered to look.
His deadly rampage occurred just before 1 a.m. on the morning of June 8 in the Weis Market, a chain of family-owned grocery stores located along Hunter Highway in Eaton Township, near Tunkhannock in northern Pennsylvania. However, from an extensive library of notes, journals, and files posted online, the world could see that Stair had been planning his attack for some months.
So how is it that so many people were alerted to such publicly available plans for committing murder, yet nothing was done to stop it?
The Man Behind the Massacre: Randy Robert Stair
Stair was a prolific video-blogger, regularly posting a variety of videos about an eclectic range of things under the pen-name Andrew Blaze. In more recent years, he developed an animated dark cartoon series featuring a sadistic character named Ember McLain, the Nickelodeon villain from the ‘Danny Phantom’ series canceled more than 10 years ago.
He expanded on Ember’s original character and created a fictional group of girls all based on the character. He named the girls “Ember’s Ghost Squad.”
One of his YouTube Channel was also called “Ember’s Ghost Squad,” which he often referred to as ‘EGS.’ He proudly refers to his time spent building his YouTube channel and 428 YouTube subscribers as his “9-year career.” He earned his money working nights at a grocery store. His other YouTube channels included PioneersProductions (his most popular tube, now with over 10.500 subscribers), PioneersAnthology and WorthlessToaster.
Aside from his regular video postings on YouTube, Stair was also active on Facebook and Instagram. However, he was prolific when posting to his Twitter page @EGSWorld.
By outward appearance, he seemed much like any other troubled teen struggling to make a successful transition into adulthood. However, under the surface a more sinister persona was hidden, lying dormant until the time was right.
Ominous Warnings before the Massacre
Before the massacre, Stair left a chilling online trail behind him that provided potential early warning signs of his macabre plans. In hindsight, his prolific online journals, videos, tweets and other notes highlight the steady deterioration of his mental state.
He recorded a video on May 11 in which he described his plans for the gruesome attack in detail. He outlined how he intended to block and barricade the doors. He also knew who would be working on the shift that fateful night.
Perhaps most disturbingly, he was also wholly aware the entire attack would be captured on the store’s surveillance cameras, leaving no uncertainty about what happened.
Throughout the 42-minute film, titled “The Westborough High Massacre/Goodbye,” he heaped praise on teen killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who massacred 13 students at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, in 1999. He hailed the mass murderers as “heroes.” Just like Brian Draper, the murderer of Cassie Jo Stoddart, he too was impressed by Eric and Dylan Klebold.
In the film, Stair launches a bitter tirade revolving around his frustrations about not receiving the help he sought or the response he hoped for when producing the film.
“I’ve been stepped on my while life; not anymore … I’ve had enough of this putrid planet and I’m gonna leave my mark.” He goes on to say “… all souls are fair game. There’s nothing you can do to stop this.”
During the film, the killer dresses in a T-shirt with “It’s our time to kill” emblazoned across the front. He also kisses and loads his pistol-grip shotguns, referred to as “the twins,” which he named “Rachael” and “Mackenzie.”
The disjointed video presentation shows snippets of a cartoon depiction of a mass shooting in a high school, in which his beloved character, Ember, is shown with a male character that appears to be a caricature of himself. They both run around shooting innocent people as they try to flee or taking aim under school desks as their victims try to hide.
But as dark and angry as the beginning may seem, the video eventually reveals a sad and incredibly lonely person, desperately seeking validation and struggling to find any sense in his own life.
Seventeen days before the massacre, he posted a clear warning about the events that would unfold. “These are gonna be the longest 17 days of my life … So many big and exciting things. Mark June 7th on your calendars because you probably won’t witness anything quite like this again; just sayin‘.”
Two days before he carried out his gruesome attack at the grocery store, Stair wrote a suicide note and posted it publicly in his online journal. “I’m so ready to die. Two more fun nights and that’s it. I’ve officially accepted that Wednesday night will be the death of me. Everything around me seems to have faded away. It’s felt as if I’m the last soul alive on this planet for the last week. I see people but they feel like an illusion. I’ve never felt so distant from society … and I love it.”
Just the day before the shooting, he posted an extensive array of notes, journals, and recordings, including a video that indicated what he had planned. He even posted a video titled “Supermarket Tour June 7 – The Day Before the Shooting,” which depicts him walking around a grocery store.
He also took to Twitter on June 6, writing “You won’t want to miss this one … It’s going to be historic.”
A few hours before the mass murder, he wrote “Be on the lookout … for headlines pertaining to ‘Tunkhannock’. I’ve been planning to do this for at least three to four months.“
A Twitter account in the name of Andrew Blaze, believed to be Stair’s pen-name, also featured an ominous message about his intended fate in the bio section. It said “I had to die in order to truly live. Speaking from before and beyond the grave.”
Despite the numerous clues and hints that he posted about his gruesome plans with seeming regularity, no one realized he was serious about carrying out his attack. No one acted to stop the shooting from happening.
The Night of the Massacre
On June 7, Stair’s shift at Weis Market began at 11 p.m., just as the store was due to close. He then spent the first 90 minutes of his shift blocking all exits to the store, barricading doors with crates and pallets to prevent staff members from escaping.
At 12:37 a.m. Thursday morning, only minutes before the slaughter began, Stair texted an apparent suicide note to his mother, telling her he would not be alive anymore and that there were some DVDs and journals left for the family.
Following the order of events noted in his plan of attack, Weis then posted an extensive cache of documents and video to his social media feed. His final tweet said “Goodbye humans … I’ll miss you …“
At just before 1 a.m. on June 8 he opened fire, shooting and killing three of his fellow supermarket workers. His victims were 63-year-old Terry Sterling, 25-year-old Victoria Brong, and 47-year-old Brian Hayes.
Stair fired a total of 59 shots during his rampage, intentionally damaging and destroying merchandise and other store fittings, as well as fatally wounding three innocent people.
However, a fourth co-worker was also in the store that night. The female grocery store worker was wearing headphones and working on labeling products when the attack began, but she heard the shots. She watched Stair shoot one of his victims before he turned to look directly at her.
Instead of shooting her too, he walked away to another aisle, giving her time to hide. Eventually, she managed to escape from the store and call 911. Even while she was calling for help, she heard more shots ring out from within the store.
When Stair finished his attack, he turned the gun on himself, firing a single shot into his head.
Aftermath of the Massacre
When asked to surmise what prompted such an attack, Wyoming County District Attorney Jeff Mitchell told the Associated Press that Stair apparently did not like the store’s night manager, one of the three people shot dead on that fateful night.
“This is really a mental health situation that utterly spiraled out of control,” Mitchell also said. “I think he had longstanding mental health issues that resulted in this horrible tragedy.”
A search of Stair’s home after the shooting revealed that he had stockpiled seven boxes of 12-gauge shotgun ammunition. Police also placed into evidence a variety of notebooks, drawings, flash drives, external hard drives, recordable discs, and a computer.
On one of the recordable discs was a video message he’d recorded for his parents. In the video, Stair admitted that he’d thought about death for some years and believed he wouldn’t live past his 20’s.
His video message also contained a confession that he had begun cross-dressing in secret as early as 2013, something he knew his parents did not know about him. His parents would go bowling on Wednesday nights, leaving him with the freedom to dress as a woman while they were out. “I was just a female soul trapped in a man’s body my whole life,” he said in his video message.
Aside from posting his documents and videos online just before the shooting, Stair also emailed his intentions to a Texas-based voice actress, Laura Faverty less than an hour before the killings, but because her phone wasn’t charged, she didn’t see the email until hours later. Faverty was hired to be the voice of a cartoon character that Stair created for his online video series.
The email began much like a suicide note, saying that by the time she read it, he would be dead. However, the message became darker as Stair outlined his gruesome plans and revealed the “true purpose” of the videos he had created.
Why the murderer chose to email Laura his plans is a mystery. Just two days before the attack in the grocery store, he posted a hand-written note in an online journal that expressed his anger and disappointment with the actress’ voice-over work for his cartoon character.
Mass Murder in an Online World
I wanted fame. I wanted to be recognized on the street. I wanted to be in movies or have documentaries made about me.
In one of Stair’s hand-written suicide notes shared on June 5th, he writes “I’ll be looking down on those who I’ve inspired and look to seeing what you create in your lives. Don’t ever forget about me.”
The dark video he posted on the night of the murders echoed his sentiments, where he lamented the perception of him as “nothing.”
At the end of his 42-minute video, recorded back on May 11, 2017, Stair asks “What’s going to happen in the future after this to prevent this from happening again? And the answer is you can’t prevent it. You can only endure it.“
In a separate posting, he also wrote: “There is nothing that any of you could have done to prevent this from happening; it was my destiny and sometimes destiny is a bitch“.
In the end, the murderer’s suicide notes say it best. He was a loner who admits to having no friends through school. The 24-year-old never moved out of the home and had never been on a date. He even confesses to hating the entire human race.
But he also admitted that the vast amount of material he uploaded online for “fans” to read was what he considered his legacy. A brief glimpse of his narcissistic streak shines through when he asks his fans to “store the thousands of pictures and stuff in case my accounts get deleted by Instagram/Facebook/police or are deactivated over time.”
He asks his followers to keep his EGS world of cartoon characters alive, even going so far as to ask them to create an entire mini-series based on his sick Westborough High Massacre cartoon, which was already pre-scripted.
His suicide note reads “I wanted fame. I wanted to be recognized on the street. I wanted to be in movies or have documentaries made about me.” He also wrote, “I literally documented the final months and days of my life, and it deserves to be seen.”
Randy Stair honestly seemed to believe that his ‘fans’ would idolize his sociopathic actions and narcissistic beliefs. He almost seemed to hope they would turn him into some sick martyr after the mindless slaughter of three innocent people and his highly publicized suicide.