San Bruno’s police chief said Wednesday he was unaware of any prior warnings that may have been given to law enforcement by the Menifee family of a woman who shot three people at YouTube offices in Northern California before killing herself.
Nasim Najafi Aghdam’s brother told reporters from the family’s Menifee home that he and his father warned police in Mountain View — where officers found her sleeping in her car around 1:40 a.m. Tuesday — that she had a grudge against YouTube and might to the company’s offices. He told ABC7 he did a Google search on Mountain View after learning where she was, and when he realized it was close to YouTube’s San Bruno offices, the family called Mountain View police back to warn them.
“So I called the cop again and told him she went all the way from San Diego, so she might do something,” said the brother, who did not want to be identified.
He told the station he didn’t know his sister had a gun, but he feared she might go there to “start a fight.”
Police said Aghdam was 39, but her family told reporters that Wednesday would have been her 38th birthday.
San Bruno police Chief Ed Barberini said during a Wednesday morning news conference that he was unaware of what information might have been passed along to police before the shooting. But he said the actual shooting Tuesday afternoon was his department’s first contact with the woman. He said Aghdam practiced at a gun range Tuesday morning before carrying out the midday shooting with a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun registered in her name.
Mountain View police issued a statement confirming that Aghdam’s family had contacted the department to say she was upset at YouTube.
“Aghdam’s father stated that she may have been in the area because of this,” according to the department. “He did not seem concerned that she was in the area, and wanted to simply let us know that may have been a reason for her move up here. Once again, at no point did her father or brother mention anything about potential acts of violence or a possibility of Aghdam lashing out as a result of her issues with her videos. They remained calm throughout this second phone call.”
According to Mountain View police, Aghdam told officers early Tuesday morning that she was living in her vehicle while looking for a job in the area.
“At no point during our roughly 20 minute interaction with her did she mention anything about YouTube, if she was upset with them, or that she had planned to harm herself or others,” police said. “Throughout our entire interaction with her, she was calm and cooperative.”
Aghdam had been reported missing by her family over the weekend. Her father, Ismail Aghdam, told reporters he warned police she might go to YouTube because of her hatred for the company. He said police called the family in Menifee at 2 a.m. Tuesday to say she had been found sleeping in her car.
Ismail Aghdam said his daughter was “angry” at YouTube because she felt the company was censoring her videos and stopped paying her for her work.
A website that apparently belonged to her featured rants about perceived censorship by YouTube. Most of Aghdam’s videos featured low production values and showed her dancing, singing and sharing pro-vegan and animal rights messages.
“Youtube filtered my channels to keep them from getting views!” she wrote on nasimesabz.com. “There is no equal growth opportunity on YOUTUBE or any other video sharing site, your channel will grow if they want (it) to!!!!!”
Aghdam, who apparently ran several social media sites in English, Farsi and Turkish, claimed that some of her videos were age-restricted in 2016 “after new close-minded YouTube employees got control of my Farsi YouTube channel … and began filtering my videos to reduce views (and) suppress (and) discourage me from making videos!”
Aghdam’s brother told Southern California News Group that the family had moved to California from Iran in 1996, but Nasim has been living with her grandmother in San Diego.
“She was always complaining that YouTube ruined her life,” the brother said.
Police said Aghdam opened fire as YouTube employees were taking their lunch breaks Tuesday. Authorities received numerous 911 calls reporting gunshots at the YouTube campus south of San Francisco at 12:46 p.m., according to the San Bruno Police Department.
Arriving officers encountered numerous employees fleeing the premises and one victim at the site, San Bruno police Cmdr. Geoff Caldwell said. Two additional gunshot victims had fled to a neighboring business.
Inside the complex, officers located a dead woman — later identified as Aghdam — with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, Caldwell said.
The most seriously injured victim, a 36-year-old man, remains hospitalized in critical condition, according to police. Two women, ages 32 and 27, were treated for less serious gunshot wounds and have since been released. Another woman injured an ankle while fleeing the scene.
The YouTube campus remained closed Wednesday. The San Bruno police chief said Aghdam’s car was impounded and being examined, but no notes or manifestos were found that forecast the violence, aside from online rants that did not appear to mention any violent intentions.
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