A woman shot 3 people, then killed herself at YouTube headquarters

YouTube employees and bystanders in San Bruno, California, have been evacuated from the campus after a shooting.

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YouTube employees and bystanders in San Bruno, California, have been evacuated from the campus after a shooting.
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Melia Robinson Business Insider

  • Three people were shot by a woman at YouTube HQ in San Bruno, California.
  • She attacked the compound, reportedly with a handgun, around lunchtime.
  • Police identified the shooter as 39-year-old Nasim Aghdam, who killed herself.

Three people were shot in an armed attack on YouTube’s headquarters on Tuesday. San Bruno police on Tuesday night identified the suspected shooter as 39-year-old Nasim Aghdam, of San Diego.

A law-enforcement source confirmed to Business Insider that the suspected shooter opened fire with a handgun. Aghdam died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.

The wounded were taken to hospitals. The dead woman was found inside the YouTube building. Two of the shooting victims were discovered at “an adjacent business,” police said.

At least one website and several social-media accounts apparently connected to Aghdam showed that the woman frequently criticized YouTube over its decision to demonetize some channels, and she expressed grievances about a reduction in viewership on her videos.

Multiple YouTube channels, as well as Instagram and Facebook accounts believed to be connected to Aghdam, had been taken down by Tuesday night. The website remained active.

But the suspected shooter’s motive remained unclear on Wednesday. In the hours directly following the shooting, one law-enforcement source told Business Insider that police initially believed the shooter knew one of the victims. But this was later contradicted by a statement by the San Bruno Police Department, which said it was still investigating a motive: “At this time there is no evidence that the shooter knew the victims of this shooting or that individuals were specifically targeted.”

The suspected shooter was not known to the FBI and was not believed to be a YouTube employee. Investigators said they did not believe the shooting was connected to YouTube’s recent ban on firearm-related videos.

A chaotic scene in San Bruno

Employees of YouTube, the Google-owned video website, described scenes of panic as the sound of gunshots rang throughout the building.

“We were sitting in a meeting and then we heard people running because it was rumbling the floor. First thought was earthquake,” YouTube employee Todd Sherman said in a tweet as the incident was unfolding.

Police said they received calls about a shooting shortly before 1 p.m. A little more than an hour later police told Business Insider reporters there was an active-shooter situation and would not let anyone leave the parking lot.

Police arrived on campus within five minutes of the shooting, according to local law enforcement.

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Police arrived on campus within five minutes of the shooting, according to local law enforcement.
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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

“No one can leave. Thank you. There is a suspect outstanding. You guys are in a safe space,” the officer said.

Google “advised all those who are currently at the [San Bruno office] to continue to shelter in place until further notice,” in a tweet from its official Twitter account at 2:33 p.m.

The company also said it had provided employees with a helpline. It was not immediately clear how many people were injured in total.

San Francisco General Hospital spokesman Brent Andrew said the hospital had received three patients, including a 36-year-old man in critical condition and a 32-year-old woman with serious injuries, and a 27-year-old woman in fair condition.

Early reports indicated that Stanford Hospital was expecting several patients from the shooting, but Business Insider confirmed with spokesperson Lisa Kim that the medical facility had not treated any victims associated with the incident.

YouTube HQ Map San Bruno shooting

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Skye Gould/Business Insider

AJPlus executive producer Ethar El-Katatney shared screenshots of what she says is from a WhatsApp group message with someone who works at YouTube, who reported that they were “in a courtyard at work eating and some guy with a gun and full body armor starting firing.” The local ABC News affiliate KGO-TV cited a police source who said that the shooter was a white female adult, which appeared to be in line with the report of a woman who died from self-inflicted wounds.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki was seen leaving the building after the shooting.

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YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki was seen leaving the building after the shooting.
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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Police were patting down groups of employees and holding them in a parking lot. A police officer asked the group how many had witnessed the incident, and approximately 15 people raised their hands. The police then separated those people from the rest of the group to ask them questions.

One YouTuber, Vadim Lavrusik, tweeted that he had “heard shots and saw people running,” and that he was now “barricaded inside a room with coworkers.”

Another YouTuber reported seeing police “surrounding” the building.

YouTube product manager Todd Sherman tweeted that he was in a meeting when he heard the rumble of people running in the building and that someone in the building told him there was “a person with a gun.” He also said he saw blood drips on the floor and stairs on his way out of the building, and that “someone else said that the person shot out the back doors and then shot themselves.”

YouTube was expected to hold a press conference later. YouTube parent company Google said through its official communications Twitter account that, “RE: YouTube situation, we are coordinating with authorities and will provide official information here from Google and YouTubers as it becomes available.” San Bruno Police said on Twitter that there was “police activity” at the address and advised people to avoid the area.

Here are some tweets and reports from people at and close to the scene:

Business Insider reporters Melia Robinson and Becky Peterson contributed to this report.

Update: An earlier version of this article included information from a source that said the suspected shooter had a boyfriend who worked at YouTube. The article has since been updated to take into account the most recent comment from San Bruno police, which said “At this time there is no evidence that the shooter knew the victims of this shooting or that individuals were specifically targeted.”