Shooter, Upset With YouTube, Visited Gun Range Before Attack

Investigators on Wednesday were collecting evidence, hoping to pinpoint what led to Tuesday's attack

A woman who believed she was being suppressed by YouTube and told her family members she "hated" the company opened fire at YouTube's headquarters in California, wounding three people before taking her own life, police said.

Investigators do not believe Nasim Aghdam specifically targeted the three victims when she pulled out a 9mm semi-automatic handgun and fired off several rounds in a courtyard at the company's headquarters south of San Francisco on Tuesday, police said.

“At this point in the investigation it is believed the suspect was upset with the policies and practices of YouTube," San Bruno Police Chief Ed Barberini said at a news conference Wednesday. But she gave no warning she might attack the company when she spoke with police earlier Tuesday morning, and authorities have said there was no evidence linking her to any individual at YouTube.

Before Tuesday's shooting, Aghdam visited a gun range, police said.

Police officers from San Bruno and South San Francisco were seen visiting on Wednesday a gun range not far from YouTube's headquarters. San Bruno officers arrived late Wednesday morning at the Jackson Arms Shooting Range in the city of South San Francisco and spent nearly two hours there.

Five officers from South San Francisco visited Wednesday afternoon. The officers did not speak with reporters.

The Jackson Arms Shooting Range has surveillance cameras inside and outside of the facility.

Barberini said investigators have not yet found a letter or manifesto from Aghdam that would provide any clues about what led to Tuesday's shooting. Authorities have said she told family members that she "hated" the company and felt her content was being suppressed by YouTube practices and policies.

A law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press that Aghdam used the name "Nasime Sabz" online.

A website in that name decried YouTube's policies and said the company was trying to "suppress" content creators.

"Youtube filtered my channels to keep them from getting views!" one of the messages on the site said. "There is no equal growth opportunity on YOUTUBE or any other video sharing site, your channel will grow if they want to!!!!!"

Barberini said investigators are still piecing through collected evidence and hope to examine additional evidence in hopes of pinpointing what exactly made Aghdam upset.

"There's a lot of follow-up that needs to be done," Barberini said. "We have investigators going in several different directions following up on everything."

In another online rant, she complained that YouTube censored her content by imposing an age restriction on one of her workout videos because they were too racy, NBC Bay Area's Investigative Unit found. She said the company failed to do the same thing for famous pop stars.

Officers in Mountain View, about 30 miles from YouTube's headquarters, said they encountered Aghdam around 1:40 a.m. Tuesday. They said she was sitting in a vehicle in a parking lot and that she may have been sleeping.

The officers spoke with Aghdam for around 20 minutes, they said, and she told them she was currently living out of her vehicle and that she came to the area to stay with family and find a job.

"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. Throughout our entire interaction with her, she was calm and cooperative," Mountain View police said.

They let her go, saying there was no indication she needed to be detained.

Police said they ran the vehicle's license plates and confirmed it belonged to Aghdam. The check on the license plates also revealed to police that she had been reported missing in San Diego County on March 31.

Police said they phoned Aghdam's family after the encounter in the parking lot to let them know she'd been located. Aghdam's father said there had been family issues at home, but according to police, he did not express concern about the reason his daughter had left.

Aghdam's father said, however, that he called back and told police he thought his daughter might be upset at YouTube and that could be the reason she was in the area.

"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," police said in a statement.

The suspect's family released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying: "Although no words can describe our pain for this tragedy, our family would like to express their utmost regret, sorrow for what has happened to innocent victims."

U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives officials were searching homes Wednesday where the shooter had lived in Southern California, NBC San Diego and NBC Los Angeles reported.

Dozens of agents were seen outside a home at the 4S Ranch neighborhood in San Diego. NBC LA reported that Menifee police arrived at the home of Aghdam's father early Wednesday morning.

Her father refused to answer questions from NBC LA's reporter but said that everything there is to know about his daughter could be found on her YouTube channel.

One of the shooting victims — a 36-year-old man — was in serious condition on Wednesday, a spokesman for San Francisco General Hospital told NBC Bay Area. Two other victims, a 32-year-old woman and a 27-year-old woman, were released from the hospital Tuesday night, the spokesman said.

Officers and federal agents responding to multiple 911 calls Tuesday swarmed the company's campus sandwiched between two interstates in the San Francisco Bay Area city of San Bruno.

Zach Vorhies, 37, a senior software engineer at YouTube, said he was at his desk working on the second floor of one of the buildings on the campus when the fire alarm went off.

He got on his skateboard and approached a courtyard, where he saw the shooter yelling, "Come get me." He said the public can access the courtyard where he saw the shooter without any security check during working hours.

There was somebody lying nearby on his back with a red stain on his stomach that appeared to be from a bullet wound.

He said he realized it was an active shooter incident when a police officer with an assault rifle came through a security door. He jumped on his skateboard and took off.

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, Barberini said. He said two additional gunshot victims were later located at an adjacent business.

NBC Bay Area and Associated Press writers Sudhin Thanawala, Janie Har, Juliet Williams and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.

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