Police have identified 39-year-old Nasim Najafi Aghdam, of San Diego, as the woman who allegedly opened fire Tuesday at YouTube’s headquarters in San Bruno, California, leaving three with gunshot wounds and four total injured, according to police.
The shooting suspect was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound Tuesday after local authorities made it into the three-story building, police said. The headquarters is about 10 miles south of San Francisco.
Three victims were taken to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, a spokesman for the hospital told The Associated Press, including a 36-year-old man in critical condition, a 32-year-old woman in serious condition and a 27-year-old woman in fair condition.
Employees were fleeing the video giant’s building as police responded to reports of shots fired at 12:48 p.m., according to police: “It was very chaotic, as you can imagine,” San Bruno Police Chief Ed Barberini said at Tuesday afternoon’s press conference.
What was the motive?
“We don’t know the circumstances” that explain why the woman began shooting, Barberini said.
A law enforcement source told the San Jose Mercury News the suspected shooter went to the tech headquarters targeting her boyfriend following a domestic dispute, but police issued a press release late Tuesday that said there was no evidence anyone at the building was specifically targeted or whether Aghdam knew anyone there at all.
When The Mercury News interviewed Aghdam’s father, he told them he had told police his daughter had vanished days ago and might be going to YouTube because she “hated” the company.
The paper reports that police found a woman with the same name asleep in a car at 2 a.m. Tuesday, and police called the family to say she had been located.
Police did not respond to The Associated Press when asked whether they were warned Aghdam might go to YouTube.
A website for a woman who appears to be Aghdam shows that she had four YouTube channels, a Facebook page, two Instagram profiles and profile on the messenger app Telegram. Profiles were split between English, Farsi and Turkish.
All of them are now inaccessible.
On her website, the woman complains that YouTube “filtered” her channels to keep them from being viewed.
“There is no free speech in the real world you will be suppressed for telling the truth that is not supported by the system. Videos of targeted users are filtered & merely relegated, so that people can hardly see their videos!” she wrote.
What were the videos about?
NBC News reports that Aghdam was a longtime human-rights activist who took part in protests. Some videos showed began recipes and others showed graphic examples of animal abuse, Quartz reported. Others showed her doing workout routines.
Quartz reports that her social media profiles, which are no longer accessible, had posts where Aghdam said she was angry about YouTube allegedly demonetizing her videos.
YouTube has the authority to prevent advertisements from running videos users create, effectively cutting off a content creator’s source of income.
Demonetization is usually done via a secretive algorithm that flags videos for offensive content, which has caused problems for users who said their videos were not problematic.
Police have not confirmed that Aghdam’s apparent frustration with YouTube was in any way a motive for the alleged shooting.
What has been Google’s response?
In a tweet, Google CEO Sundar Pichai thanked police for their response and said he and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki were “focused on supporting our employees and the YouTube community through this difficult time together.”
There are no words to describe how horrible it was to have an active shooter at YouTube today, Wojcicki wrote in her own Tweet. “Our deepest gratitude to law enforcement & first responders for their rapid response. Our hearts go out to all those injured & impacted today. We will come together to heal as a family.”