Jump to content

Eaton Township Weis Markets shooting

Coordinates: 41°31′45″N 75°56′51″W / 41.5291°N 75.9474°W / 41.5291; -75.9474
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Eaton Township Weis Markets shooting
Eaton Township Weis Markets shooting is located in Pennsylvania
Eaton Township Weis Markets shooting
Eaton Township Weis Markets shooting is located in the United States
Eaton Township Weis Markets shooting
Location within PA / United States
LocationEaton Township, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Coordinates41°31′45″N 75°56′51″W / 41.5291°N 75.9474°W / 41.5291; -75.9474
DateJune 8, 2017; 7 years ago (June 8, 2017)
12:57 a.m. – 1:01 a.m. (EDT)
TargetEmployees at Weis Markets
Attack type
Murder-suicide, triple-murder, workplace shooting, mass shooting
WeaponsTwo pistol gripped 12-gauge Mossberg 500 pump-action shotguns
Deaths4 (including the perpetrator)
PerpetratorRandy Robert Stair
MotiveBelief that he would be reborn as an animated female ghost from Danny Phantom

In the early hours on the morning of June 8, 2017, employees at a Weis Markets supermarket in Eaton Township, Pennsylvania, United States, were stocking and closing the store for the night. Shortly before 1:00 a.m., 24-year-old Randy Stair barricaded the exits of the store and proceeded to shoot and kill three of his co-workers before fatally shooting himself.[1]

Shooting[edit]

Randy Stair, 24, arrived for his late-night shift at Weis Markets in Eaton Township, Pennsylvania (just south of Tunkhannock), on the evening of June 7, 2017, during closing time at approximately 11:00 p.m. Stair went to the staff area of the store and blocked an emergency exit in the far back. He then continued with his duties, stocking shelves and cleaning up from the previous day. At 12:10 a.m., he sent out links to multiple files and videos which detailed his plans via his Twitter account; these files were labeled "Journal," "Suicide Tapes,"and "Digital set".[2][3][4]

Stair then went back to the crew area in the rear of the store, blocked the remaining exits, then locked the automatic doors at the main entrance to the store. He then pulled out two pistol grip pump-action shotguns that he had concealed in a duffel bag[5] and walked around the store and killed three employees—Victoria Brong, Brian Hayes, and Terry Lee Sterling. He then approached another coworker, Kristan Newell, who had not heard the shooting due to her listening to music with headphones on while she was labeling items and stocking shelves near the rear of the store.[6] Stair was seen on CCTV surveillance camera footage standing behind Newell as she worked for about five seconds before he proceeded to the next aisle.[7]

After this, Stair proceeded to fire at a glass and other merchandise in the store and shot multiple small portable propane tanks, which failed to explode. Around this time, Newell was able to escape the store by removing the display at the entry doors and breaking the glass door. She then ran outside and hid behind some bushes and called 911.[citation needed]

After a short time, Stair concluded his shooting of the store's contents. Stair then went to the deli section of the store, and shot another group of items. Whilst Newell was on the phone to the police, Stair placed the loaded shotgun in his mouth and fired a single round through his palate, killing himself instantly. A total of 59 shots had been fired. All of the shotgun rounds fired came from only one of the two shotguns he brought. Stair stated in his fifth "Suicide Tape" that the second shotgun was only for backup in case the first one "breaks down on [him] or jams, and [he has] no way of fixing it".[citation needed]

Victims[edit]

All three were employed by Weis Markets.

  • Victoria Brong, aged 25, assistant tag manager for Weis Markets.[8]
  • Brian Hayes, aged 47, night manager for Weis Markets and United States Navy veteran.[9]
  • Terry Lee Sterling, aged 63, shop assistant for Weis Markets.

Perpetrator[edit]

Randy Stair
Born
Randy Robert Stair

(1992-09-17)September 17, 1992
DiedJune 8, 2017(2017-06-08) (aged 24)
Other namesAndrew Blaze
OccupationFormer Weis Markets employee
Parents
  • Robert Stair (father)
  • Lori Anne Stair (mother)
RelativesJeremy Stair (brother)
MotiveBelief he would be reincarnated as an animated female ghost based upon Ember McLain from Danny Phantom
Details
Victims3
Target(s)Employees at Weis Markets
WeaponsTwo pistol gripped Mossberg 500

Randy Robert Stair (September 17, 1992 – June 8, 2017), who called himself Andrew Blaze, was an American grocery store clerk, and the sole perpetrator of the killings. Stair had been employed at Weis Markets for 7 years.

Prior to carrying out his rampage, he kept detailed video recordings and journals leading up to the shooting, most of which he uploaded to online forums and social media profiles. In these writings and videos, he expressed his willingness to commit suicide, addressed the personal tragedies and other misfortunes he experienced which led him to a state of depression, a fear of aging past his 20s, described cross-dressing and questioning his gender identity, provided detailed explanations of his plans for carrying out the shooting, and explained his belief that these murders would allow him to cross over to an animated world he had imagined. Stair also had a fascination with multiple mass shootings, especially school shootings (particularly the Columbine High School massacre and Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, its perpetrators). In his writings, Stair called the Columbine shooters his heroes, wishing he could have met them, and said Harris was his idol out of the two boys.[10][11][12]

From 2007, Stair had a presence on YouTube with his channel PioneersProductions, which featured short sketches and collaborations he had done with other content creators.[4] By 2014, however, he announced that he was going in a different direction with his content, citing numerous unfortunate events that had occurred in his life during the previous year. He created his own video series titled Ember's Ghost Squad (EGS), based on the fictional character Ember McLain from the Nickelodeon animated series Danny Phantom. Obsessed with the character, Stair had written earlier in his online journal that she wanted him to kill.[13]

On the evening of June 7, 2017, Stair uploaded a final video titled "The Westborough High Massacre" hours before perpetrating the shooting. In it, he described his hatred towards the people involved with the series through an angry prologue. It then featured a crudely animated sequence depicting him and one of the characters from EGS murdering students at a fictional high school, before ending with montages of previous videos explaining the motives behind the shooting.[14] He also managed nine Twitter accounts based on his characters, where he left links to journals and videos he uploaded on MediaFire.[15] He was living in nearby Dallas, Pennsylvania, with his parents and had lived in Pennsylvania all of his life.[16]

Aftermath and reactions[edit]

The shooting did not receive much attention outside of local news outlets, but multiple Pennsylvania public leaders expressed their sadness and condemned the shooter's actions. Nevertheless, in reaction to the shooting, the Weis Markets store closed until July 13.[17] A Weis Markets spokesperson said, "We are deeply saddened by the events of this morning. The safety of our associates, our customers, and the surrounding community is our top priority."[18]

Becki Hayes, the sister-in-law of victim Brian Hayes, set up a GoFundMe campaign to pay for immediate expenses. Hayes was also featured on Nancy Grace's podcast Crime Stories with Nancy Grace.[19]

Store reopening and response[edit]

On June 14, 2017, Weis Markets announced the store would be reopened.[20] The original storefront stayed intact, but the interior was gutted and remodeled with a new floor layout. On July 13, 2017, the store was reopened.[21]

Many people who lived in the area questioned why Weis decided not to relocate the store. In an interview with WNEP, some said they would not even enter the remodeled store due to what occurred there. However, others in the community accepted the supermarket chain's decision. One man said that it would have played into Stair's hands had the store left. He explained, "The evil man who did this would have wanted them to move and would have wanted people to be scared and not want to go to the store after what he did."[22]

Stair's father response[edit]

Stair's father commented "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families", and added "We are so sorry for all the pain and loss of life this has caused everyone involved".[23]

See also[edit]

Similar shootings[edit]

Related lists and articles[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Victims, Shooter Identified in Weis Markets Murder-Suicide". WNEP.com. 2017-06-08. Retrieved 2017-06-21.
  2. ^ Herbert, Geoff (June 8, 2017). "Weis Market shooting: 4 dead in murder-suicide at Pennsylvania supermarket". syracuse.com. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
  3. ^ Oberhaus, Daniel; Maiberg, Emanuel (June 12, 2017). "Why Isn't Twitter Deleting the Weis Market Shooter's 'Suicide Tapes'?". Motherboard. Retrieved June 22, 2017.
  4. ^ a b McBride, Jessica (June 8, 2017). "Randy Stair: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy.com. Retrieved June 22, 2017.
  5. ^ "4 dead in murder-suicide at Pennsylvania supermarket". 8 June 2017.
  6. ^ Kohut, Joseph (June 10, 2017). "Witness describes supermarket shooting in Wyoming County". The Times-Tribune. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
  7. ^ Brennan, Christopher; Jagannathan, Meera (June 8, 2017). "Worker who posted violent online cartoons kills three, self". Daily News. New York City: Tribune Publishing. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
  8. ^ "Four dead in shooting in Pennsylvania supermarket". CBS News. Associated Press. June 8, 2017. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
  9. ^ Berkeley, Tapinto (June 12, 2017). "A GoFundMe Campaign is Accepting Donations for Family of Brian Hayes, Killed in the Grocery Store Massacre". TAPinto. Retrieved July 21, 2017.
  10. ^ "Supermarket Killer Posted Video Describing Plan". US News. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  11. ^ Innis, Jamie. "Weis Markets shooter leaves behind videos of plans". WOLF. Retrieved 2017-06-21.
  12. ^ Tanos, Lorenzo. "The Bizarre Reasons This Youtuber Went on a Deadly Rampage". Grunge. Retrieved 2022-08-03.
  13. ^ Tanos, Lorenzo (2021-10-19). "The Bizarre Reasons This YouTuber Went On A Deadly Rampage". Grunge. Retrieved 2023-08-08.
  14. ^ Scolforo, Mark; De Groot, Kristen (June 8, 2017). "Supermarket massacre shooter left chilling online trail". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2017-06-18. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
  15. ^ Singleton, David (June 10, 2017). "Gunman's web posts suggest disconnect with the real world". Retrieved June 22, 2017.
  16. ^ Becker, Dave (2017-06-09). "Four dead in Weis Market shooting". PAHOMEPAGE. Retrieved 2017-06-21.
  17. ^ Marshall, C.J. (June 28, 2017). "County: Weis expected to re-open July 13". Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  18. ^ "Weis Markets issues statement about shooting |". wkok.com. Retrieved 2017-06-21.
  19. ^ Duke, Alan (June 15, 2017). "Weis Supermarket massacre victim's family needs your help! Desert Storm vet's death robs family of father, husband". Crime Online. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  20. ^ "Weis Markets set to reopen after deadly shooting". WNEP.com. 6 June 2017. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  21. ^ "Mixed feelings on supermarket reopening after mass shooting". Associated Press. July 9, 2017. Archived from the original on 2017-07-12. Retrieved July 21, 2017.
  22. ^ "Community reacts to Weis reopening after shooting". WNEP.com. 28 June 2017. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  23. ^ Leader, Times (2017-06-09). "Stair family expresses condolences for triple murder-suicide". Times Leader. Retrieved 2024-01-06.