The woman who opened fire on YouTube headquarters on Tuesday, wounding three people before apparently killing herself, had “absolutely no link or relationship” with anyone on the scene of the shooting, police said Wednesday. Rather, law enforcement said, “She was upset with YouTube.”
“We’ve determined that right now, that’s the motivation that we’ve identified,” San Bruno, Calif., Police Chief Ed Barberini said at a news conference Wednesday. “Whether that rises to the level of terrorism hopefully will be determined in the next couple of weeks.”
Barberini added that the shooter, whom police have identified as 39-year-old Nasim Najafi Aghdam, had registered the semi-automatic handgun recovered from the scene. Investigators have also learned she stopped in at a gun range Tuesday morning.
Later that day, at 12:46 p.m., police began receiving reports of gunshots — and within two minutes, officers arrived on YouTube’s campus to find employees fleeing the scene. They soon found several injured victims — as well as the body of Aghdam, dead of what law enforcement believes to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“At this point, we have no indication that she was selecting individuals to fire at,” Barberini added.
At the same time, Aghdam left little doubt about her grievance with YouTube.
Aghdam had frequently posted her own videos under a pseudonym on the platform — featuring a vast array of eclectic content, from exercise instruction to pop music parodies, spoken in English, Farsi and Turkish — and she said YouTube had begun “filtering” those videos to reduce the number of views and her advertising revenue.
Those videos have been removed from the site. Facebook and Instagram have taken down the photographs and other materials she posted to those websites, as well.
Her apparent website, meanwhile, featured her now-defunct videos, materials supporting her vegan beliefs and often-graphic footage of animal abuse — along with a vitriolic statement making clear her feelings about YouTube.
“BE AWARE! Dictatorship exists in all countries but with different tactics!” the statement read, going on to quote Adolf Hitler and claiming that “videos of targeted users are filtered & merely relegated, so that people can hardly see their videos!”
Elsewhere on the page was the claim that “close-minded youtube employees … began filtering my videos to reduce views & suppress & discaurage [sic] me from making videos!”
San Francisco member station KQED reports that her father, Ismail Aghdam, told the Bay Area News Group that she “hated” YouTube and that he had reported his daughter missing on Monday after she didn’t answer her phone for two days.
A spokesperson for police in Mountain View, Calif., told KQED that Nasim Najafi Aghdam, a San Diego resident, had been found sleeping in her car in a parking lot in the Northern California town around 2 a.m. Tuesday. They let her go because she did not appear to be a threat to herself and others.
Barberini said Wednesday that his department in San Bruno did not communicate with the Mountain View department prior to the shooting — though he added that they would look further into the matter.
As for the victims of Aghdam’s attack, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital said two of the three patients the medical facility had received were discharged Tuesday night. The other, a man in his 30s, remains in serious condition, according to a hospital statement emailed to NPR on Wednesday morning.
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