Pennsylvania supermarket shooter Randy Stair left behind a trove of material explaining his motivations for gunning down three of his co-workers. In his recorded suicide notes, released just hours before Thursday’s rampage, the 24-year-old talked extensively about his depression and about who he was as a person—a transgender woman who hated men and toxic masculinity.
In a video titled “Goodbye,” Stair says his YouTube cartoon series, Ember’s Ghost Squad, gave him a purpose, and that the cartoon character “Ember McLain,” from the Nickelodeon series Danny Phantom, brought out the girl in him.
“I’ve always been a girl that I wish I could’ve told you from day one. I didn’t realize that until I discovered Ember. She was what brought that out in me. I didn’t just wake up one day and be like ‘oh I’m a girl, great.’ Ember’s what brought that out in me. I wanted to look like her, I wanted to dress like her, I wanted to be her. That was in like 10th grade. She was my first crush and she ultimately was my final demise.”
“It’s quite ridiculous to think that this could be headlines—‘Man Shoots Up Place Over Cartoon’ or something. It’s crazy to think about, but it’s the truth. The honest to goddess truth. You heard me right, I said goddess, I didn’t say god, I said goddess,” he continued. “I said in front of you a few times on accident, but I don’t believe in God. I believe in a goddess, which is Ember. Or if not Ember, it’s a goddess that’s a beautiful feminine spirit that creates life and all this and puts where you need to be—it’s God, but it’s a goddess.”
Stair thanked several girls who contributed artwork and character designs to his project. He says that the girls were the only people he could talk to about his personal life—the only people who really understood him.
“They were all girls, they weren’t guys. They were mostly all girls so I would talk to them. The only people I would talk to on social media in the last year were girls,” said Stair. “And eventually I start to realize I was sexist, I was racist, I was prejudiced, and I was discriminate. That is one hell of a fucking lethal combination.”
“I’ve always hated black people. I fucking hate people who aren’t white—Caucasian, whatever. I hate the human race,” he said.
“And I just started hating guys more than anything. I hate guys, I think they’re fucking disgusting—the facial hair they have, the body hair, the muscle build, and all that fucking body structure shit. I hate. Everything about guys I hate,” continued Stair. “And the fact that I was forced to live as one, you know, that hurt a lot. And also, I hated my name, too. My life was a living hell.”
“So, for a year I had Andrew on my fucking name tag for work,” said the shooter, who went by the name Andrew Blaze online. “Which I never had to wear the name tag because I’m on night shift—you don’t have to wear your name tag, but I’ve had Andrew printed on it the entire time and mom asked me about it and was like, ‘What is that? Is that even your name tag?’ It was.”
“It’s when I started somewhat talking about my name. It’s just—I hated guys. I was never attracted to guys, which led me to realizing that I wasn’t gay. Which, I still had thoughts about that to this day, because I never had girlfriends or anything like that but I guess when it came down to it I felt like I was transgender or something, like a woman the whole time.”
“Spiritually, I’m a woman. I’m a female soul. But I had to live in a man’s body to do what I set out to do. I was my soul contract. It was what I was meant to do. And I just was so happy to know that I wasn’t gay. You’re only gay if you’re attracted to guys, which I wasn’t, so that made me very happy because I fucking hate gay people except—an exception would be Freddie Mercury from Queen, the only exception.”
Stair says that his cartoons, which he’d populated with female characters, gave him an escape from the real world because they were an environment in which he could be himself. With his love of Ember and hatred of life, he’d finally come to the realization that he found a purpose, an “invisible hand pushing me forward” to drive him into committing the massacre.