Ethan Miller was identified as the active shooter who killed two people August 28 at a Safeway grocery store in Bend, Oregon, after first plotting a school shooting in a macabre manifesto that read, “I’m evil, plain and simple.”
Bend Police spokesperson Sheila Miller identified the shooter as Ethan Blair Miller, 20, of Bend, and the two victims as Glenn Edward Bennett, a shopper, and Donald Ray Surrett Jr., an employee who tried to disarm the gunman. Bennett, 84, of Bend, was shot near the entrance to the store, she said. Surrett, 66, of Bend, was shot in the rear of the store, in the produce section.
“Surrett engaged with the shooter, attempted to disarm him, and may very well have prevented further deaths,” police spokeswoman Miller said. “Mr. Surrett acted heroically during this terrible incident.” Two other people suffered injuries that were not life-threatening.
You can read more about hero Donald Surrett, who was an Army veteran, here. Bennett was a medic in the Korean War. There is a GoFundMe page to help his widow.
Officers responded to the store in the area of The Forum Shopping Center on Sunday night, August 28, 2022, according to police.
“I’m a blood-thirsty, evil f****** psychopath,” he wrote in a journal entry on Wattpad reviewed and saved by Heavy before it was deleted. The page is called the “downward spiral of Ethan Miller.” The gunman also posted pictures of himself with weapons on Instagram and videos showing him firing guns on YouTube.
“Well, this is it,” read another post on the manifesto. “Today’s the day I die.”
Miller wrote that he planned to be a school shooter and was influenced by Columbine, but he could not wait any longer for the start of school, which is how he ended up at the Safeway on Sunday instead. He left behind voluminous social media accounts.
Miller, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the store, had no criminal history, and authorities did not learn about his writings until after the mass shooting, Sheila Miller said. She said police were investigating how Ethan Miller acquired the weapons.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Miller’s Railed Against COVID Restrictions in the Journal, Writing, ‘I Was Turned Into a Monster. I Created This Tragedy. But Society Created Me’
The journal, which was posted on Wattpad, reads as a final manifesto although it was written over the course of multiple days. It has been taken down, but Heavy saved screenshots. In it, Miller railed about COVID-19 “hysteria” by government and blamed isolation and loneliness for the mass shooting.
But Miller, who was heavily involved in mixed martial arts, also outright stated that he was evil. The pages are filled with rants about society and promises to murder people.
One entry said that Miller was going to perpetrate a “national tragedy” and that he left the journal behind to be understood:
“If you’re reading this then I’m definitely DEAD and have just committed a ‘NATIONAL TRAGEDY.’ I’ve left this journal for all the investigators, Media, Internet Sleuths, etc. but most importantly this is for the VERY FEW people that I actually care about and want to understand why and how this happened so that they can be at peace. 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.
Well then I guess I should tell you all a little bit about myself yeah? Not much that’s noteworthy and most of the stuff about my birth and early life (Ahhhh back when things were much much simpler) is gonna be pretty easy to find. I’ve changed A LOT since then, Obviously lol. The real changes started a little over two years ago when COVID first started to become a global thing. God that still f****** p***** me off.
I still cannot believe that the entire world fell for that. The virus itself was real and deadly but instead of actually coming up with a real solution to the problem they (meaning the Tyrannical U.S. GOVERNMENT) instead USED the problem to create mass hysteria and panic among us (Meaning the people of AMERICA) and then forced us into isolation and loneliness for a SIGNIFICANT amount of time.
I still haven’t been able to pull myself out of that state. Despite numerous attempts at getting back into MMA, which I still love so dearly and always will, Despite numerous attempts at new jobs, despite numerous attempts at finding love once again, despite numerous attempts at being social and trying to make new friendships they have proved futile. So now we’re here. I hope that this journal can give you all a sense of peace and closure. But the world has made this happen. I am responsible for this, but I was turned into a monster. I created this Tragedy. But Society created Me.
Another post read, “My humanity is gone. I have no emotions whatsoever.”
In another post, Miller claimed he was not a white supremacist or incel but rather hated “everything.” He added, “I’m at peace with the monster I’ve become.”
Police revealed in news conference on August 29 that, as officers responded, the shooter entered from the Fox Hollow apartments, shooting rounds from an AR-15-style rifle. He entered the west entrance of Safeway. Inside the entrance, he shot one person, Bennett, who died. The shooter continued through Safeway, shooting and killing a second person, Surrett, inside the store. Police entered the store while shots were still being fired, and they found Miller deceased.
Authorities found a shotgun and AR-15 rifle in close proximity to the shooter. There was no evidence of a second shooter, despite early reports. Molotov cocktails were found in Miller’s car.
2. Ethan Miller, Who Posted Photos Showing Him With Guns, Wrote That He Was ‘Done Waiting’ & Was Influenced by Columbine
Miller, who posted photos with guns on social media, brought an AR-15 to the Safeway store. On August 27, 2022, in a journal entry, Miller wrote that he was “done waiting.” That appears to be why he chose the Safeway store instead of a school.
“I CAN’T WAIT ANY LONGER. The rage has become uncontrollable,” the journal entry reads.
He also left behind a YouTube channel with multiple videos, some showing the shooting of guns.
Here is another video from his YouTube page:
In another post, Miller indicated he planned to be a school shooter and was influenced by Columbine.
At a press conference late Sunday, Bend Police Chief Mike Krantz said, “At approximately 7:04 p.m. we received a call for service at the Forum Shopping Center. Multiple 911 calls came in. As police responded we had reports of at least one possible or two active shooters in the area. The calls were shots being fired. We believe the shooter entered from a residential area behind the Forum Shopping Center. The shooter moved through the parking lot from the Costco on the west end shooting rounds an AR-15-style rifle.”
Krantz said the shooter then went into the west entrance of Safeway. The chief said, “They engaged one person there and shot that person. That person was transported to the hospital and was later pronounced deceased. The shooter continued through the Safeway firing rounds. The shooter killed a second person inside the Safeway. Officers responded and when they arrived they entered the Safeway immediately, still hearing shots. They found the apparent shooter dead inside Safeway.”
Krantz said the rifle and a shotgun were found near the shooter. He said officers didn’t fire any shots.
Social media users claimed that Miller once worked at the Safeway, but authorities have not confirmed this. He lived in the Fox Hollow apartments, according to Sheila Miller.
Officers entered the store to confront Ethan Miller, but he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the police spokeswoman said. It took four minutes from dispatch to Ethan Miller being down, she said.
A police bomb squad cleared Ethan Miller’s apartment as well as the Safeway.
3. The Gunman Ranted About Mountain View School, Writing That He Had ‘No Good Memories About That School’
Miller ranted about Mountain View school and left journal posts indicating he was considering an attack there instead.
“No good memories about that school or the staff within it,” he wrote a week before the Safeway shooting.
Miller, an amateur MMA fighter, also posted on Reddit posts about the Columbine shooting. He had a playlist dedicated to the shooting he posted to Spotify.
Krantz said a witness reported a possible second shooter in the area, but no evidence has been found of a second gunman or any additional gunshots in the city. He said the investigation is ongoing and is active. Officers from several central Oregon police agencies and the FBI were at the scene.
“This will take a long time to collect evidence, process the scene and complete the investigation,” Krantz said. He said the crime scene includes the entire parking lot and shopping center and investigators are also obtaining search warrants for the suspect’s residences.
Central Oregon Peacekeepers attended the police briefing and reported the following:
Shooter started outside and walked along sidewalk. Fired in to Big Lots. Went to safe way and shot someone who died at hospital. Shooter was killed. No news on potential injuries. Multiple agencies responding. Bend PD did not fire a weapon
The Bend Bulletin reported that a Safeway employee told the newspaper that “a person walked into the grocery store and opened fire with a gun, firing multiple shots.”
The television station reported that “multiple gunshots heard in the area of the shopping center, at Highway 20 and Northeast 27th Street.”
4. Miller’s Mother Works at Safeway as ‘Personnel Coordinator’
On Facebook, Miller’s mother, Gail Dover, wrote that she worked at Safeway as the store’s “personnel coordinator.”
“She forgave, but she won’t forget. She’s moving on to better things. NO REGRETS JUST LESSONS LEARNED,” her profile reads. It says she lives in Bend, Oregon.
She occasionally posted shout-outs to Miller, who was involved in mixed martial arts. “Ethan took 1st place in his tournament today. So proud of him,” she wrote, with heart emojis, on April 23.
A day before the shooting she wrote, “Sometimes in life we have to make decisions that don’t seem fair or aren’t the easiest to make. Those decisions can make or break a person, and they may also be the right ones.” She didn’t say what she was referring to, and she has now locked down her Facebook page so the posts are no longer visible.
According to KTVS, callers said “they saw someone dressed in all black, while others said a male subject holding two duffel bags…may have entered the grocery store.”
Miller sprayed gunfire down every aisle, according to the Bend Bulletin.
The Bulletin added that the mass shooting “prompted shoppers to reach for their own weapons.”
5. A Former Classmate Wrote That Miller ‘Picked on People’ at School & ‘Seemed a Bit Off’
A former classmate wrote on Facebook that Miller “picked on” people at school and “seemed pretty upset most days.” She wrote:
I went to high school with the Bend, Oregon shooter. We talked in passing. He always seemed a bit off but I was always nice to him as an upperclassman should be. We had a few classes together and he seemed to always get into trouble at school, picked on people and seemed pretty upset most days. I keep getting phone calls about what happened today in my hometown. I’m appalled at what happened but also this seems to be our new normal.
I can’t post the link on here but if you want to read how it happened, his name is Ethan Miller 20 years old from bend, OR
In 56 pages starting on June 29th each day he writes a story about what’s about to go down. On the last day (when shooting happened) he says his goodbyes. It’s very disturbing but he goes into extreme depth on why.
A person wrote on Reddit that they work at the store as a courtesy clerk and described hearing gunshots:
Really happy to be alive and safe rn,” the post said. “I was outside pulling cars in when I heard gunshots from what sounded like near Costco, by the Fox Hollow apartments. I wasn’t sure if they were gunshots until I saw a guy running as fast as he could. Not long after, I heard more gunshots. I saw a black sudan and I think maybe that was the car??
The post continued, “I ran inside, people started to come in. I told people to stay in. I told the manager s*** was happening and saw my friend. I ran to him and told him about it. That’s when I heard gunshots in the store. Me and him and so many people ran out as fast as we could. I heard more shots near me. My co workers saw the shooter. He made it out ok. I’ve never seen people run like that. I’ve never been in a panic like that.”
READ NEXT: Videos Capture Salman Rushdie Stabbing Scene