The woman who shot three people at YouTube headquarters Tuesday did not have a link or relationship with the three people she shot, San Bruno Police Chief Ed Barberini said Wednesday.
“We know she was upset with YouTube, and now we’ve determined that was the motive,” Barberini said.
The police chief also said the assailant, Nasim Najafi Aghdam, visited a shooting range before the attack. Police said they found a Smith & Wesson 9mm gun registered to her at the scene.
The brother of Nasim Najafi Aghdam worried she might do something dangerous.
The concerns started over the weekend when Aghdam stopped answering her phone, her brother told CNN affiliate KGTV. Then the San Diego resident’s car was found more than 700 miles northwest, in Mountain View, California.
“I Googled ‘Mountain View,’ and it was close to YouTube headquarters. And she had a problem with YouTube,” said Aghdam’s brother, who did not want to be identified.
So he called police to say “she went all the way from San Diego, so she might do something.”
That fear turned into reality Tuesday afternoon when Aghdam shot three people at the YouTube campus in San Bruno before killing herself with a handgun.
It’s unclear whether the brother’s concerns were relayed to authorities in the Bay Area, San Bruno police Chief Ed Barberini told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Wednesday.
“We know that she was reported missing by her family in San Diego on the 31st of March, and that she was located in a community about 30 miles south of us early Tuesday morning,” Barberini said.
“I don’t know what concerns were conveyed to that police department, or how or where those concerns were relayed to. So that is something we’re looking into.”
Longtime social media user
The website points to a prolific, longtime social media user. It lists four YouTube channels for the woman — one in Farsi, one in Turkish, one in English and one devoted to hand art. It also lists an Instagram page that focuses on vegan life.
CNN is working to verify the authenticity of the website. YouTube’s parent company, Google, referred CNN to an earlier statement about the shooting when contacted about the website.
The woman’s grievances against YouTube appear to be centered around censorship and revenue.
“There is no equal growth opportunity on YOUTUBE or any other video sharing site, your channel will grow if they want to!!!!!” one post reads. “Youtube filtered my channels to keep them from getting views!”
Another post accuses “close-minded” YouTube employees of putting an age restriction on videos, saying it’s aimed at reducing views and discouraging the woman from making new videos.
On a YouTube channel, the same woman described herself as a vegan bodybuilder and an animal rights activist. By Tuesday night, the account had been terminated, with a YouTube message citing “multiple or severe violations” of its policy.
The postings are not limited to YouTube. Videos on several social media platforms include posts on animal rights, vegan lifestyle and the political system in Iran. Others include a bizarre mix of musical parodies.
As questions remain on the motive, police have said there’s no evidence the shooter knew the victims or that they were specifically targeted.
The YouTube shooter joins a rare list of female attackers. The FBI examined active shooter incidents in the United States between 2000 and 2016, and found that only nine of the 220 incidents involved female shooters.
YouTube was founded in February 2005 and quickly became a major site for online videos. It was later purchased by Google.
More than 1,100 people work at the YouTube office in San Bruno, about 10 miles from San Francisco.
Did she know the victims?
There were conflicting reports on whether the shooter knew the victims. Two law enforcement officials told CNN that the shooter knew at least one of the victims. But police said at this time, there’s no evidence that she knew the victims or that individuals were specifically targeted.
“We know very, very little right now, and we probably won’t know more until tomorrow morning,” San Bruno Police Chief Ed Barberini said.
While authorities don’t have a motive for the shooting, they’re investigating a website that appears to show the same woman accusing YouTube of restricting her videos, according to the Los Angeles Times.
CNN is working to confirm the authenticity of the website.
Shooter yelled: ‘Come get me!’
The shooting started shortly before 1 p.m. local time at the company’s headquarters about 10 miles from San Francisco.
Senior software engineer Zach Voorhies was working when the fire alarm blared.
“I went outside with my electric skateboard and I started skating down, because I thought it was a fire,” he told CNN affiliate KPIX. “I heard some yelling and I saw somebody down on his back with a red spot on his stomach.”
As they fled the building, he said, the shooter was in the courtyard yelling, ” ‘Come at me, or come get me!’ ”
Product manager Todd Sherman said he was at his desk when he heard what sounded like rumbling as people ran.
“First thought was earthquake,” Sherman said in a series of tweets. He dashed toward the exit, where someone said there was a person with a gun.
“At that point, every new person I saw was a potential shooter,” he said. “I looked down and saw blood drips on the floor and stairs.”
He fled downstairs, peeking around him to ensure the shooter was not in the vicinity, before dashing out of the building.
Authorities have not identified the victims.
Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital said they were 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.
Trauma surgeon Andre Campbell said the three patients are all conscious. When asked how they are, he said: “Shocked, like we are every time these terrible things happen.”
The 911 calls started pouring in around 12:46 p.m., Barberini said.
Police were at the scene within two minutes of the initial call, and immediately worked to secure the large office space. Responding officers arrived from several police agencies and tactical teams searched the campus and found no other suspects, police said. President Donald Trump applauded authorities for their quick response.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with everybody involved,” he tweeted Tuesday. “Thank you to our phenomenal law enforcement officers and first responders that are currently on the scene.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a leading advocate in the US Senate for tighter gun laws, also addressed the shooting.
“My stomach sinks with yet another active shooter alert,” the California Democrat tweeted. “I’m praying for the safety of everyone at YouTube headquarters.”
YouTube was founded in February 2005, and quickly became a major site for online videos. It was later purchased by Google.
More than 1,100 people work at the YouTube office in San Bruno. Employees there include engineers for the site and sales teams that work with advertisers and content creators.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent a message to employees following the shooting.
“I know a lot of you are in shock right now. Over the coming days, we will continue to provide support to help everyone in our Google family heal from this unimaginable tragedy,” Pichai said.
As a trauma surgeon, Dr. Andre Campbell has patched up victims of gun violence for decades, privately venting with colleagues about the epidemic.
Those private conversations became public Tuesday.
Campbell, who helped treat victims injured in a shooting at the YouTube headquarters in California hours earlier, made pointed comments about gun violence in a press conference about victims of the shooting.
“To think that after we’ve seen Las Vegas, Parkland, the Pulse nightclub shooting, that we would see an end to this, but we have not,” Campbell, an attending trauma surgeon at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, told reporters.
Three people suffered gunshot wounds in the shooting on the campus in San Bruno, California, south of San Francisco, according to San Bruno Police Chief Ed Barberini. One person injured her ankle, Barberini said. The female shooter died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, the chief said.
Campbell said gun violence is a problem that needs to be addressed. He also chided the media for not paying attention to other instances of gun violence.
“Gun violence happens every day throughout the United States. It happens here in San Francisco. It happens in the Bay Area. It happens all over the country,” Campbell said. “But I don’t see you guys out here because I’d like to make sure that people know that we got a serious problem that we need to address.”
“I don’t have all the answers … at least we’re having a discussion about it nationally,” he said. “This is a real problem.”
Hospital spokesman Brent Andrew said a 32-year-old woman was in serious condition, a 27-year-old woman was in fair condition and a 36-year-old man was in critical condition.
Campbell said the patients injured in the shooting at the YouTube headquarters suffered multiple injuries and were not in surgery at the moment.
“This is a terrible day in the United States,” said Campbell, a professor of surgery at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine.
Campbell said once again, the hospital — the only level 1 trauma center in San Francisco — was confronted with a mass casualty.
The hospital dealt with multiple shooting victims in each of the past two weeks, Campbell said. The incidents included a fatal shooting at a San Francisco barbershop.
“I didn’t see all these cameras out here … last week when I was here,” he said.
“That’s the problem, when something like this happens, which is terribly unfortunate, then you guys come out,” Campbell said. “The reality is we have to deal with this all the time. We have to deal with the families.”
Emergency medical providers generally define a mass casualty as an incident in which the number of casualties exceeds the resources available to deal with them.
The patients were awake and aware of what happened, Campbell said.
When asked if they said anything when they arrived at the hospital, Campbell said: “No, other than shocked like we are … every time these terrible things happen.”
In an interview with CNN, Campbell said he wanted to speak about the issue of gun violence in all communities.
“We kind of quietly do our job and we don’t say a whole lot,” he said. “But today just seemed like it was a day where people wanted to hear what was going on.”
He added: “We as trauma providers, we are just saddened by the fact that this is a persistent problem.”
Campbell grew up in Queens, New York, at a time when the city struggled with gun violence.
His interest in the sciences led to him to study pre-med at Harvard University. He graduated in 1980.
Campbell earned a medical degree five years later from the University of California, San Francisco.
He returned to New York to work as a resident at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, where he often treated victims of gun violence.
“I felt that I’d be able to make a difference in people’s lives becoming a trauma surgeon,” he told CNN.
He hasn’t treated victims of nation’s mass shootings like colleagues in other hospitals, but he has seen his share of gunshot victims over the years.
At Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, he recalled seeing 10 to 15 gunshot victims often on weekends about a decade ago, he said.
“It happens with such regularity. It’s unbelievable,” he said of gun violence.
“We need to work together to find a solution,” Campbell said.
Soon after he spoke to reporters, colleagues and doctors worldwide sent him warm text messages and emails.
“I just echoed what they feel,” he said.
As the investigation continues into why a female shooter opened fire at YouTube headquarters, data shows that it’s rare for women to carry out such shootings — making Tuesday’s incident unusual.
She appeared to have killed herself with a handgun, San Bruno Police Chief Ed Barberini said. The woman has been identified as Nasim Najafi Aghdam, a 39-year-old from San Diego, California.
The motive remains unclear.
Women are rarely behind active shooting incidents, according to data from an FBI study.
The FBI examined active shooter incidents, defined as “an individual engaging in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area” in the US. Nine of the 220 incidents (about 4%) had female shooters, according to the FBI list from 2000 to 2016.
The women in those shootings were usually armed with handguns and opened fire inside colleges, businesses, their current or former workplaces, according to the list.
The latest incident at YouTube may not qualify as a mass shooting or murder as three of the victims are hospitalized with injuries.
But in general, there are less female shooters when it comes to firearm homicides, said Adam Lankford, criminal justice professor at the University of Alabama.
FBI data from 2016 showed that 7.6% murder offenders in 2016 were female.
“Research shows that basically males commit more homicides than females, regardless of the subtype of homicide,” Lankford said.
When it comes to mass shootings, there isn’t one accepted definition. The Gun Violence Archive, which compiles data, defines it as an incident in which an offender shoots or kills four or more people. And the Congressional Research Service’s defines it as when the perpetrator kills four or more people, selecting victims randomly and attacks in a public place.
But in those incidents, female mass shooters are rare.
None of the perpetrators behind the 28 mass attacks in 2017 were female, according to a report by the US Secret Service.
Lankford’s study looked at 292 public mass shooters worldwide found that only one of those was female.
When asked why women are rarely mass shooters, Lankford said: “We can’t really answer that question of differences between male and female offenders because we don’t have enough female offenders. The problem, or the good news, is we don’t have enough female offenders for a statically significant sample.”
But there have been cases where women have carried out deadly mass shootings.
A married couple, Syed Rizwan Farook, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik massacred 14 people at a holiday party in 2015 in San Bernardino, California. Farook had worked with the San Bernardino County health department, which was hosting the party when the attack took place. They were both killed in a shootout with police.
On January 30, 2006, Jennifer San Marco visited her former place of employment, a postal distribution center in Goleta, California, and fatally shot six employees after killing a one-time neighbor. She then killed herself.