Wednesday 23 January 2019

'Shooter hated YouTube for censoring her videos' - father

Nasim Aghdam opened fire with a gun at YouTube before apparently turning the weapon on herself. Photo: San Bruno Police Department/PA Wire
Nasim Aghdam opened fire with a gun at YouTube before apparently turning the weapon on herself. Photo: San Bruno Police Department/PA Wire

Harriet Alexander

The father of the woman identified as the YouTube HQ shooter said he had warned police she might be headed to the video-sharing site's offices because she "hated" the company.

Nasim Aghdam (39), of Southern California, was identified by US media as the woman who approached the Silicon Valley campus around lunchtime on Tuesday and began to fire before entering the Google-owned video-sharing service HQ.

One man and two women were shot in the incident before the gunwoman apparently committed suicide.

Hospital officials said the 36-year-old man was in critical condition and two women, aged 32 and 27, were in serious and fair condition. A fourth person suffered a sprained or broken ankle.

Aghdam was angry at YouTube because it had stopped paying her for videos she posted on the platform, her father said.

People who post on YouTube can receive money from ads that accompany their videos, but the company "de-monetises" some channels for reasons such as inappropriate material or having fewer than 1,000 subscribers.

YouTube had "stopped everything," and "she was angry", Ismail Aghdam said from his San Diego home.

Mr Aghdam said he reported his daughter missing on Monday as she hadn't answered her phone for two days.

He said the family received a call from Mountain View police in San Francisco around 2am on Tuesday saying they had found his daughter sleeping in a car.

Mr Aghdam said he warned them she might be headed to YouTube because she "hated" the company.

Police confirmed officers had located a woman by the same name asleep in a vehicle in a Mountain View car park on Tuesday morning but she had declined to answer further questions.

Sources told NBC that Aghdam appeared to have a YouTube channel and had posted videos criticising the company for censorship.

According to the broadcaster, she said in a video posted in January 2017 that YouTube "discriminated and filtered" her content. She said her channel used to get lots of views but that after being "filtered" by the company, it received far fewer views.

Aghdam was also a prominent animal rights protester. She 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. "For me, animal rights equal human rights," she said at the time.

Ed Barberini, chief of police at San Bruno where the shooting took place at YouTube HQ, said the weapon was a handgun.

The first 911 calls had come in at 12.46pm. His officers were on the scene two minutes later.

"Upon arriving, officers found a chaotic situation with employees streaming out of the building," he said. "We did encounter one victim with an apparent gunshot wound towards the front of the building as we arrived. Several minutes later, while conducting a search of the premises, officers located a second individual with a gunshot wound that appeared to be self-inflicted."

An employee at a nearby fast food restaurant said one victim had come in with a gunshot wound to her calf and he had tied a makeshift tourniquet around it.

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

Leaving the building he "looked down and saw blood drips on the floor and stairs".

Irish Independent

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