The woman who opened fire on three people before killing herself at YouTube’s California headquarters has been identified as a frequent user of the site who was furious with the company for their ‘dictatorial’ new policies.
Nasim Aghdam, 38, shot a man and two women with a handgun when she stormed YouTube’s headquarters in San Bruno on Tuesday afternoon.
Aghdam, whose identity was first confirmed by NBC, was a prolific YouTuber who had ranted online against the company’s new policies and for ‘censoring her videos and not paying her’.
Witnesses say Aghdam was wearing glasses and a scarf when she opened fire.
Law enforcement officials initially said the shooting was being investigated as a domestic dispute after early indications suggested she had shot her boyfriend.
Aghdam, who was a self-described Persian animal rights activist and ‘vegan bodybuilder’, had a significant online presence with multiple YouTube channels and social media pages.
In a video that Aghdam posted back in January 2017, she vented about her content being ‘discriminated and filtered’.
She also said that her YouTube channel, which had more than 5,000 subscribers, used to get many views but claimed she started getting less when the company started ‘filtering’ her videos.
She specifically mentioned a video of her doing ab exercises that YouTube apparently put an age restriction on.
Aghdam’s YouTube channels were removed in the hours after the shooting.
Officers and federal agents swarmed YouTube’s headquarters complex just before 1pm after dozens of panicked employees called 911 to report gunfire.
Upon arrival, police found the woman dead inside the campus with self-inflicted gunshot wounds.
San Bruno Police Chief Ed Barberini said three people were taken to hospitals in San Francisco with gunshot wounds.
A 36-year-old man was in critical condition, a 32-year-old woman was in serious condition and a 27-year-old woman was in fair condition following the shooting.
Television news footage showed terrified employees leaving the building in a line, holding their arms in the air for police to inspect as they were leaving the building.
Officers patted down people to make sure none had weapons as police vehicles surrounded the area.
Senior software engineer Zach Vorhies said a fire alarm had gone off in the building and workers were calmly evacuating before they realized it was an active shooting.
Vorhies said as they were leaving he saw the shooter in a courtyard yelling: ‘Come at me, or come get me.’
He said he froze and then noticed a victim on his back with what looked like a gunshot wound to his stomach. Vorhies said an officer with an assault rifle then came through a security door.
Another employee, Dianna Arnspiger, said she was on the building’s second floor when she heard gun shots, ran to a window and saw the shooter on a patio outside.
She said the woman wore glasses and a scarf and was using a ‘big huge pistol.’
‘It was a woman and she was firing her gun. I just said, ‘Shooter,’ and everybody started running,’ Arnspiger said. ‘It was terrifying.’
The police chief said at a press conference that officers discovered one victim with a gunshot wound when they arrived and then found the shooter with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound several minutes later.
He said two additional gunshot victims were later located at an adjacent business and that a fourth injured person suffered an ankle injury.