Early on Thursday morning, Pennsylvania gunman Randy Stair went on a shooting rampage, killing three innocent people before fatally turning the gun on himself. Who was he, and how did this young man become so troubled that he, as reports allege, meticulously planned and hinted at the shooting on social media and on his YouTube channel, Ember’s Ghost Squad?
On Thursday, the New York Daily News reported that 24-year-old Dallas, Pennsylvania man Randy Stair arrived for his 11 p.m. Wednesday night shift at the Eaton Township branch of Weis Market, with two shotguns loaded in a duffel bag he kept in his car. About two hours later, with the grocery closed to customers, he barricaded the store’s exits, went to his car to get the guns, then fired 60 bullets, killing three co-workers and killing himself. The victims were identified as Victoria Brong, 26; Brian Hayes, 47; and Terry Sterling, 63.
As of Thursday, Pennsylvania police were still looking into gunman Randy Stair’s motives. But as the Inquisitr wrote, the attack may have been planned some time in advance, as Stair had posted several disturbing tweets, including one hinting at a “Westborough High Massacre” on June 7, 2017. That was also the title of the final Ember’s Ghost Squad video (WARNING: NSFW and disturbing content), which, as noted, included praises for Columbine High School gunmen Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, and footage of Stair firing a gun and later on kissing it.
Summer is FINALLY here. pic.twitter.com/Gh5OSF8I2B
— Ember's Ghost Squad (@EGSworld) May 29, 2017
A closer look at the video, however, suggests that Pennsylvania gunman Randy Stair seemed to be genuinely thankful for his YouTube following, and eager to create more content for his fans. As Randy had noted, he had been on YouTube since 2008, when he would have been 15 or 16-years-old, and his last Ember’s Ghost Squad video featured some excerpts of Stair thanking his YouTube fans for their support on multiple anniversaries of his YouTube debut.
“You guys really are my life support. I have no idea what I’d do without you. You really do help keep me sane. If YouTube was not my life, God knows what I’d be, so thank you so much.”
“If I didn’t have YouTube, I wouldn’t be too happy. It’s helped me stay away from a path that could possibly be a depression path. It’s not depression, but just like feeling like I’m nobody. It’s really a great thing … YouTube is a great thing because it has changed my life.”
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) June 8, 2017
— WNEP (@WNEP) June 9, 2017
In the clip from his sixth anniversary “thank you” message, Randy Stair left some ominous hints at his future plans, saying that he doubts that he’d be around for another six years, but would simply “play it by ear” and keep making content for at least another year. This was one of several points in the video where Randy suggested that he wasn’t expecting to live past the age of 20. He would also admit to feeling “dead” and depressed in some of the old excerpts included in the “Westborough High Massacre” video.
As Heavy previously reported, an “online friend” of Randy Stair’s had taken to Facebook to express his disappointment in what had happened, and how Stair had “grown increasingly aloof” over the past few years. According to the friend, Randy’s old videos on the Pioneers Productions YouTube channel were mostly humorous but “sometimes a bit mundane and boring,” but as the Pennsylvania gunman’s outlook on life became increasingly dark and serious, he shifted his attention to Ember’s Ghost Squad.
Looking at the Pioneers Productions channel, it also features Randy Stair identifying as his online alter-ego “Andrew Blaze,” with several retrospective videos posted over the past few months, but mostly content from 2015 and earlier. Yet the tone is mostly more light-hearted than the dark content often featured on Ember’s Ghost Squad. One of the retrospective videos has Randy taking part in comical stunts similar to those seen on the MTV show Jackass, while others look back on previous recordings through the years, including some videos from the Pennsylvania gunman’s childhood in the early 2000s.
“I had no idea I filmed this,” Stair commented on one of the childhood videos.
“This was only a few days after we got [our dog] Bruno. This tape just surfaced in one of my mom’s drawers; my jaw dropped when I saw what was on it. There’s actually footage from the night we first got Bruno (which I’ll post soon). I don’t even recognize myself in this…It’s like looking at a totally different person…”
As it turned out, Randy Stair was indeed a totally different person from the happy young boy in the childhood videos when he carried out last night’s shooting. And while his YouTube videos had, at some points, hinted at some happier, more hopeful times for the Pennsylvania gunman, having a dedicated following wasn’t enough to prevent Thursday morning’s tragedy.
[Featured Image by Stefan Malloch/Shutterstock]