YouTube shooter visited gun range before attacking company

SAN BRUNO, Calif. — A day before a woman opened fire at YouTube headquarters, her father said he warned police that his daughter was upset with the company’s handling of her videos and might be planning to go to its offices, where she later wounded three people before killing herself.

Police disputed the father’s statement, saying officers who talked to Nasim Aghdam before the attack said her family gave no warning she might commit violence.

Authorities also said Aghdam also visited a gun range before she entered a courtyard Tuesday at YouTube’s main offices south of San Francisco, pulled out a handgun and fired several rounds.

Investigators do not believe the 39-year-old targeted anyone in particular.

She told family members that she believed the company was suppressing her videos, which included segments about veganism, animal cruelty and exercise, along with glamour shots of herself.

The shooter got into the building through a parking garage. On Wednesday, investigators were conducting searches at two properties, San Bruno police chief Ed Barberini said.

A law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation said Aghdam had a longstanding dispute with YouTube.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was 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!!!!!”

People who post on YouTube can receive money from advertisements that accompany their videos, but the company “de-monetizes” some channels for reasons including inappropriate material or having fewer than 1,000 subscribers.

Aghdam “hated” YouTube and was angry the company stopped paying her for videos she posted, her father, Ismail Aghdam, told the Bay Area News Group.

On Monday, he called police to report his daughter missing after she did not answer the phone for two days and told officers that she might go to YouTube, he said.

Officers in Mountain View — about 30 miles from YouTube’s headquarters — found her sleeping in her car in a parking lot about 2 a.m. Tuesday but let her go after she refused to answer their questions.

Aghdam did not appear to be a threat to herself or others, police spokeswoman Katie Nelson said.

Nelson would not say whether officers had been warned Aghdam might have been headed to YouTube headquarters.

Authorities first said the shooting was being investigated as a domestic dispute but did not elaborate. It was not clear why police later said the people shot were not specifically targeted.

Two women wounded in the attack were released Wednesday from a San Francisco hospital.

The third victim, a 36-year-old man, remained in serious condition. His condition was upgraded from critical when he was brought in Tuesday.

 

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