Female suspect in YouTube HQ shooting was Iranian animal rights protestor

Published: Updated:
Enable Read mode
100% Font Size

Gunshots erupted at YouTube's offices in California Tuesday, sparking a panicked escape by employees and a massive police response, before the shooter -- a woman -- apparently committed suicide.

Police said three people had been hospitalized with gunshot injuries following the shooting in the city of San Bruno, and that a female suspect was found dead at the scene.

"We have one subject who is deceased inside the building with a self-inflicted wound," San Bruno Police Chief Ed Barberini told reporters. "At this time, we believe it to be the shooter."

Authorities cover a body with a yellow tarp at YouTube's headquarters in the San Francisco Bay Area on Tuesday
Authorities cover a body with a yellow tarp at YouTube's headquarters in the San Francisco Bay Area on Tuesday

Two law enforcement officials identified the suspect as 39-year-old San Diego resident Nasim Aghdam, who is of Iranian origin.

Aghdam was quoted in a 2009 story in the San Diego Union-Tribune about a protest by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals against the use of pigs in military trauma training. She dressed in a wig and jeans with drops of painted "blood" on them, holding a plastic sword at the demonstration outside the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base.

"For me, animal rights equal human rights," Aghdam told the Union-Tribune at the time.

Angry at YouTube

Her father has spoken out and said she was angry at the company because it stopped paying her for videos she posted on the platform.

Ismail Aghdam told the Bay Area News Group that he warned police his daughter, Nasim Aghdam, might be going to YouTube because she "hated" the company.

iranian woman
iranian woman

Ismail Aghdam said he reported his daughter missing on Monday after she did not answer her phone for two days.

He said the family received a call from Mountain View police around 2 a.m. Tuesday telling they found Nasim sleeping in a car and he warned them she might go to YouTube.

Mountain View Police spokeswoman Katie Nelson confirmed officers located a woman by the same name asleep in a vehicle asleep in a Mountain View parking lot Tuesday morning.

She says the woman declined to answer further questions. Nelson did not respond to a question about whether police were warned Aghdam might go to YouTube.

Frantic scenes

Employees recounted frantic scenes as they fled the headquarters of the Google-owned video sharing service near San Francisco, with one saying he saw blood on the floor as he escaped.

"We were sitting in a meeting and then we heard people running because it was rumbling the floor. First thought was earthquake," employee Todd Sherman tweeted.

Sherman said that as he headed for an exit "someone said that there was a person with a gun," and added "at that point every new person I saw was a potential shooter."

Officials are seen following a shooting at the headquarters of YouTube, in San Bruno, California, U.S., April 3, 2018. (Reuters)
Officials are seen following a shooting at the headquarters of YouTube, in San Bruno, California, U.S., April 3, 2018. (Reuters)

Sherman's tweets continued: "I looked down and saw blood drips on the floor and stairs. Peeked around for threats and then we headed downstairs and out the front."

One image posted by a Twitter user showed employees being led out of the building with their hands up, with no further explanation.

Another YouTube employee, Vadim Lavrusik, tweeted: "Active shooter at YouTube HQ. Heard shots and saw people running while at my desk. Now barricaded inside a room with coworkers."

Later, Lavrusik said he had escaped to safety.

Witnesses reported helicopters on the scene as well as police SWAT teams.

The White House said President Donald Trump had been briefed and that his administration was monitoring the ongoing situation in San Bruno.

Google communications tweeted: "Re: YouTube situation, we are coordinating with authorities and will provide official information here from Google and YouTube as it becomes available."

YouTube headquarters is located some 30 miles from the main Google campus in Mountain View.

(With AP and AFP)

Top Content Trending