|“||I am God. Now, who's brave enough to look God in the eye?||”|
— Randy during the massacre
Slade was a student at North Valley High School, a Boise high school. Though he was an excellent student and varsity wrestler who had many girlfriends and played a lot with his younger brother Brandon, underneath it all, he was a high-functioning, narcissistic psychopath. He spent some time planning his massacre and even made a list of people he specifically targeted together with an outcast named Lewis Ramsey, who provided him with the SEMTEX from his father's construction company; Slade used it to make a bomb. He secretly plotted to kill Ramsey in the massacre as well in order to take full credit for it, by writing at the bottom of the computer-written list the sentence "All the LoSeRs in this godforsaken school". It was a secret way of naming his own partner on the list of intended victims by capitalizing his initials in "losers". He confided in Brandon, convincing him to hide the list for him and keep it a secret from everyone else.
On October 12, 2001, at approximately 12:50 p.m., Slade carried out his massacre after posting his plan online and talking to his mother on his cellphone. He first shot and killed two students with a 9mm handgun, then forced a friend named Jerry Holtz to lock the cafeteria doors to preventing anyone from escaping. Once Jerry did so, Slade walked around the cafeteria, daring hostages to look him in the eye and shooting those who couldn't, killing another two this way. One of the people he dared was a loner named Robert Adams, who managed to look him in the eye and was spared from being shot. Robert was the only hostage who complied with Slade and looked at him in the eye. He pulled out a bomb he carried in his backpack, loudly declared "I am God!", and detonated it, killing himself and another ten students. All the while, Ramsey, who wasn't aware of the entire thing, had been smoking pot in the parking lot, ultimately escaping Slade.
In the aftermath of the massacre, Rossi and Hotch became involved in the investigation. Slade's immediate family essentially became nationwide pariahs after what he did. Slade's father Harry apparently couldn't stand the negative attention and left the family five years later. However, Slade's mother Martha and brother Brandon didn't move away from the area, presumably because they would be recognized anywhere due to the media coverage on them. Brandon even came to attend North Valley High and did well, but it can be suggested that he was somewhat unpopular due to his brother's actions. During the investigation, authorities noted the fact that Slade used SEMTEX, an explosive used at construction sites held behind locked doors. This led the BAU to consider the possibility that Slade had a partner, though they never found him. People have also questioned why Slade detonated his bomb early after firing only four shots, when he clearly still had ammunition left; the reason behind this early suicide attack still remains unanswered.
Finally, the BAU manage to find Ramsey after ten years, near the anniversary of the massacre. After the case's conclusion, a memorial for the victims of Slade's massacre is held in front of North Valley High. When everyone starts lighting candles and saying the names of the people they want to remember, Brandon says his brother's name.
Slade was a high-functioning yet impulsive, narcissistic psychopath, unlike the majority of school shooters. He was popular and highly intelligent. For this reason, he neglected to name his partner in his plans, taking the credit for himself. He was also possibly delusional, because at the beginning of the shooting and when he detonated his bomb, he ranted and screamed, "I am God!" He also taunted students, asking if they were "brave enough" to look him in the eye. He shot students who didn't look him in the eye and spared one who did. His pathology was about the big kill, murdering as many people as he could, despite the fact that Slade only shot four students even though he had plenty more ammunition to shoot and kill many additional victims. Slade relished the power of choosing who lived and died, hence his feeling of being God. He shot Natalie Gallo to get everyone's attention, then shot the next student in order to establish dominance.
Randy arrived at the North Valley High School cafeteria armed with a 9mm handgun (possibly a Beretta M9) and a SEMTEX bomb hidden in his backpack. After shooting two students to catch the attention of everyone else in the cafeteria and then to assert his dominance, he would dare students to look him in the eye, declaring himself to be God, and then shot two of them execution-style after when they wouldn't do so. Then, he detonated his SEMTEX bomb using his cellphone. Reid mentioned that Slade used nails for bomb shrapnel as a sadistic touch.
Slade's massacre has numerous notable similarities to the Columbine High School massacre, including:
- Two people were involved (although only one committed the massacre in Criminal Minds).
- Both Eric Harris and Randy Slade were both posthumously diagnosed as psychopaths.
- Both massacres involved the usage of explosives and guns, both of which were used in cafeterias. Both bombs were set to explode in the cafeterias.
- In both cases, the perpetrators committed suicide.
- Thirteen victims were killed in both massacres and dozens were injured.
- Slade's SEMTEX bomb seems to be an obscure allusion to Harris and Klebold's library massacre: both were the deadliest portions of the massacres and claimed the lives of the last ten victims. Also, Harris and Klebold also committed suicide in the library, while Slade committed a suicide attack with the SEMTEX bomb.
- Slade's narcissistic statements, such as when he declares himself God, bears some resemblance to the kind of grandiose statements Harris and Klebold made in their journals.
- In both cases, the perpetrators taunted students and spared some students. At the Columbine massacre, Dylan Klebold taunted Evan Todd, an injured jock, but decided to spare him, despite his hatred for him. In Painless, Slade taunted Robert Adams but spared him when Robert looked him in the eye; Jerry Holtz later took credit for this.
- The way Slade kills Allison Humwald while she was praying, telling her to "stop praying" before shooting her, is somewhat similar to a rumor that circulated in the aftermath of Columbine, that Eric Harris asked a girl, Cassie Bernall, if she believed in God and shot her when she replied that she did, but this was concluded by the FBI and other witnesses not to have happened. In reality, Dylan Klebold asked already injured student Valeen Schnurr if she believed in God. He spared her after she said yes (though hesitantly) and explained why.
- All three perpetrators had one brother, though while Slade was the older brother, both Harris and Klebold were the younger brothers.
- The newspaper photo of the principal leading a student away resembles a picture of an adult leading a student at the Columbine massacre.
The many similarities to the massacre at Columbine aside, Slade is somewhat similar to school bomber Andrew Kehoe, since both successfully bombed the schools they were personally connected to, resultantly taking many lives, and these bombings gained a notable amount of recognition in their day, despite the fact that hardly anyone knows about Kehoe and his attacks nowadays. Elements of Slade's massacre are also similar to that of school shooter Kipland Kinkel