A woman injured three YouTube employees and killed herself in a shooting spree at the company’s San Francisco headquarters on Tuesday.
California Police say Nasim Aghdam, 39, approached the tech giant’s offices and fired at staff, injuring a man and two women.
There is currently no evidence that Aghdam knew the victims, two women aged 27 and 32 and a 36-year-old man said to be in a critical condition.
“At this time there is no evidence that the shooter knew the victims of this shooting or that individuals were specifically targeted,” said a police spokesperson.
The suspect is thought to have approached the building via an outside patio dining area where badges weren’t required and opened fire with a handgun, BBC News reports.
‘Chaotic scenes’, say police
Police said they arrived at 12:48 local time (19:48 GMT) to find “chaotic scenes” and many people fleeing. Officers “encountered one victim with an apparent gunshot wound at the site and two additional gunshot victims that had fled to a neighbouring business”.
Then, inside the building, police found the suspect dead from a gunshot wound thought to have been self-inflicted.
Aghdam was reportedly angry that the tech firm had stopped monetising her YouTube channels.
‘We barricaded ourselves in a room,’ says YouTube staffer
Just before 1pm, YouTube worker Vadim Lavrusik took to Twitter to say that there was an “active shooter at YouTube HQ” and that he had “heard shots and saw people running while at my desk”, the New York Times reports.
Lavrusik said that he was barricaded in a room with colleagues and later tweeted that they had been safely evacuated.
Product manager Todd Sherman tweeted: “We were sitting in a meeting and then we heard people running because it was rumbling the floor. First thought was earthquake”.
Suspect angry at drop in YouTube views
Aghdam, believed to be a vegan and animal rights activist, posted a video in January 2017 that YouTube was filtering her content, resulting in falling views.
“Videos of targeted users are filtered and merely relegated, so that people can hardly see their videos,” she said on her website. “There is no equal growth opportunity on YouTube or any other video sharing site. Your channel will grow if they want [it] to!”
Aghdam’s father, Ismail, reportedly told local news outlets that she was angry YouTube demonetised her channels. The video giant can do so by removing adverts from its channels, although it is unclear whether this happened in this case, the BBC reports.
Ismail Aghdam told US media that his daughter had been reported missing on Monday and was later found by police to be sleeping in her car in Mountain View, 15 miles south of YouTube’s San Bruno headquarters. This was reported to her family but she was not detained by police.
Her father told police he feared she might visit YouTube as she “hated the company”, local news outlets report.
US shootings by women are rare
Shootings by female suspects are rare in the US, with the vast majority carried out by men. Out of 160 incidents between 2000 and 2013, only six of the perpetrators were women, according to an FBI report.
The chief executive of Google, owner of YouTube, Sundar Pichai, said in a statement that the company was “doing everything we can to support [the victims] and their families at this time.”
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