The 20-year-old man who shot and killed two people at an Oregon grocery store before killing himself had planned a much bigger massacre he called "doomsday,” which he wanted to be remembered as a "significant event in history," he wrote in online postings.
The online screed, written on the blogging website Wattpad and made public 12 hours before the crime, showed exactly how he planned to commit the mass shooting, that he’d hoped to kill as many as 40 people, and that he was ready to die.
“I'm OBSESSED with Doomsday now I can hardly contain it!” he wrote. “I can't wait to Die.”
The shooter's original plan was to shoot up the high school he graduated from on September 8. In one post from early July, he wrote that “yes, Columbine partially inspired this” and that he’d had “a Morbid interest in Shootings for a long time. Especially Columbine.”
Shortly before his rampage, the shooter changed his plans and decided to target this particular Safeway in Bend, Oregon, where he had worked in the past.
“Fuck It. I'm done waiting. I CAN'T WAIT ANY LONGER,” reads one of the final entries. “The Rage has become uncontrollable and It can't wait 2 More Weeks...Tomorrow. Sunday. August 28th, 2022. Doomsday.”
Soon after that entry, on August 28, Ethan Blair Miller drove to the Safeway with an AR-15-style rifle and a shotgun, exited his vehicle and opened fire on people in the parking lot. He then entered the store and carried on firing, killing two people. He might have killed many more if not for a Safeway employee and Army veteran, Ray Surrett Jr., 66, who was killed attempting to disarm the shooter, according to police.
“Mr. Surrett engaged with the shooter and attempted to disarm him and may very well have prevented further deaths,” police spokeswoman Sheila Miller said at a news conference.
Soon after that confrontation, but before police arrived, Miller shot and killed himself.
The online writing, which references the shooter’s name and features unique photos, is written in diary form and chronicles eight weeks of planning for the mass shooting.
“If you're reading this then I'm definitely DEAD and have just committed a ‘NATIONAL TRAGEDY,’” reads the opening line of the shooters writing. “I'm gonna lay it all out for you all so that by the end of all of this you will all understand why I did what I did. What you'll see here is the documentation and description of the Months/Weeks/Days from Today up until The Massacre.”
A Wattpad spokesperson told VICE News that the posts were made public on the day of the killing and was removed within 12 hours of being made public. Prior to them being public the posts were in “private mode” making them inaccessible to the public. The act of keeping a diary is common for mass killers; the neo-Nazi who killed 10 people in a Buffalo grocery store in May kept a similar diary on Discord.
The shooter also had an Instagram and YouTube page which have since been deleted.
His screed is focused on violence and mass death, somewhat akin to the disturbing Columbiner subculture, rather than one connected to any sort of political ideology. The shooter wrote several times of how excited he was to commit extreme violence and wanted the act to be “remembered as a significant event in history.” He routinely referred to himself as “the animal” when speaking about his plan, and said he hoped to kill as many as 40 people.
The writings are overflowing with nihilism and the shooter repeatedly writes how much he hates society and is excited for his own death. The shooter makes sure to adamantly write that he’s “not an incel” nor a “white supremacist.” However, following his denouncements, he uses several racial slurs and describes women as “fucking fake and shallow.”
A frequent topic in the diary is the writer's yearning for “love” and how he was unable to find it. He wrote that he believed he would meet his soulmate who “doesn't exist here” and he would “have to cross over to the other side to finally meet her.” The shooter ends the diary with a final goodbye note, the lyrics of several songs in full, and a series of photos.
According to an archived version of the diary, it was read more than 438,000 times before being pulled down.
People who knew the shooter in high school told local news outlets that he was a violent person prone to confrontations. One even told Oregon Public Broadcasting that he was “the person from our class most likely to be a school shooter.”
Following publication, Wattpadd told VICE News the content was posted on the evening of the shooting and was viewable for less than 12 hours.
Follow Mack Lamoureux on Twitter.