YouTube shooter visited gun range prior to attack, police say
A woman suspected of shooting three people at YouTube’s headquarters was angry about the policies and practices of the company and had visited a gun range before she drove to the company’s headquarters near San Francisco, police said.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday, San Bruno Police Chief Ed Barberini said Nasim Najafi Aghdam, 38, got into the YouTube building through a parking garage.
Investigators are now in the process of executing search warrants at two properties, he added.
Aghdam shot and wounded three people before she killed herself on Tuesday.
Two women wounded in the shooting have since been released from the hospital. But the third victim, a 36-year-old man, remains hospitalized in serious condition. His condition was upgraded from critical when he was brought in Tuesday.
WATCH: Nasim Aghdam accused YouTube of censoring her videos before she wounded three people and killed herself
Investigators do not believe she specifically targeted the three victims when she pulled out a handgun and fired off several rounds in a courtyard at the company’s headquarters, police said.
But a law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press that Aghdam had a longstanding dispute with the company. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case, said Aghdam used the name “Nasime Sabz” online.
A website in that name decried YouTube’s policies and said the company was trying to “suppress” content creators.
“Youtube filtered my channels to keep them from getting views!” one of the messages on the site said. “There is no equal growth opportunity on YOUTUBE or any other video sharing site, your channel will grow if they want to!!!!!”
WATCH: Officials learning more about YouTube shooting suspect Nasim Aghdam as 911 calls released
Aghdam “hated” YouTube and was angry that the company stopped paying her for videos she posted on the platform, her father, Ismail Aghdam, told the Bay Area News Group.
On Monday, he called police to report his daughter missing after she didn’t answer the phone for two days and warned officers that she might go to YouTube, he said.
Officers in Mountain View — about 48 kilometres from YouTube’s headquarters — found her sleeping in her car in a parking lot around 2 a.m. Tuesday after checking the licence plate.
Aghdam told officers she had come to the area to stay with family and was currently living out of her vehicle while looking for a job.
“At no point during our roughly 20-minute interaction with her did she mention anything about YouTube, if she was upset with them, or that she had planned to harm herself or others,” Mountain View Police said in a press release. “Throughout our entire interaction with her, she was calm and cooperative
“At the conclusion of our interaction with her, she in no way met any reason for us to speak with her further or possibly detain her.”
‘Everybody started running’
YouTube employee Dianna Arnspiger said she was on the building’s second floor when she heard gunshots, ran to a window and saw the shooter on a patio outside.
“It was a woman and she was firing her gun. And I just said, ‘Shooter,’ and everybody started running,” Arnspiger said.
She and others hid in a conference room for an hour while another employee repeatedly called 911 for updates.
The world’s biggest online video website is owned by Silicon Valley giant Google, but company officials said it’s a tight-knit community. The headquarters has more than a thousand engineers and other employees in several buildings. Originally built in the late 1990s for the clothing retailer Gap, the campus south of San Francisco is known for its sloped green roof of native grasses.
WATCH: Police patrol grounds of YouTube HQ during active shooter situation
Inside, Google several years ago famously outfitted the office with a 3-lane red slide for workers to zoom from one story to another.
“Today it feels like the entire community of YouTube, all of the employees, were victims of this crime,” said Chris Dale, a spokesman for YouTube.
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said in a tweet the company would “come together to heal as a family.”
Officers and federal agents responding to multiple 911 calls swarmed the company’s campus sandwiched between two interstates in the San Francisco Bay Area city of San Bruno.
Zach Vorhies, 37, a senior software engineer at YouTube, said he was at his desk working on the second floor of one of the buildings on the campus when the fire alarm went off.
He got on his skateboard and approached a courtyard, where he saw the shooter yelling, “Come get me.” He said the public can access the courtyard where he saw the shooter without any security check during working hours.
There was somebody lying nearby on his back with a red stain on his stomach that appeared to be from a bullet wound.
WATCH: Police pat down people outside YouTube HQ during active shooter
He said he realized it was an active shooter incident when a police officer with an assault rifle came through a security door. He jumped on his skateboard and took off.
Officers discovered one victim with a gunshot wound when they arrived and then found the shooter with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound several minutes later, San Bruno Police Chief Ed Barberini said. He said two additional gunshot victims were later located at an adjacent business.
© 2018 The Canadian Press