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Rediff.com  » News » Woman opens fire at YouTube HQ, injures 3 before killing self

Woman opens fire at YouTube HQ, injures 3 before killing self

Last updated on: April 04, 2018 23:56 IST

The suspect, identified as 39-year-old Najafi Aghdam from San Diego, California, was upset with the policies and practices of YouTube.

IMAGE: Cops said the motive behind the shooting at the YouTube headquarters was a domestic related-dispute and was not terror-related. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A woman opened fire at the YouTube headquarters on Wednesday in the US state of California, wounding three people before killing herself, with police indicating that she was furious with the video website because it had stopped paying her for her clips.

The suspect, identified as 39-year-old Najafi Aghdam from San Diego, California, was upset with the policies and practices of YouTube, San Bruno police chief Ed Barberini said at a press conference.

 

"This appears to be the motive for this incident," he was quoted as saying by media reports.

Police said that no evidence had been found linking her to any individuals at the YouTube headquarters in Northern California where she opened fire.

IMAGE: Police officers and crime scene tape are seen at YouTube headquarters following an active shooter situation in San Bruno, California. Photograph: Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters

Earlier, police had suspected that the motive behind the incident was a domestic related-dispute.

Aghdam had visited a local gun range before going to YouTube's headquarters, Barberini said. 

The headquarters of YouTube, a video-sharing service owned by Alphabet Inc's Google, in San Bruno near Silicon Valley has a significant number of Indian-American professionals.

According to reports, a day before the woman opened fire at YouTube headquarters, her father had warned police that his daughter was upset with the company's handling of her videos and might be planning to go to its offices.

IMAGE: YouTube employees are seen walking away from YouTube headquarters after the shooting. Photograph: Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters

Aghdam's online profile shows she was a vegan activist who ran a website called NasimeSabz.com, meaning ‘Green Breeze’ in Persian, where she posted about Persian culture and veganism, as well as long passages critical of YouTube.

Her father said she was angry with the Google-owned site because it had stopped paying her for videos she posted on the platform, and that he had warned the police that she might be going to the company's headquarters, the reports said.

The woman shot three people at the YouTube headquarters.

As people scrambled off the patio outside a cafe on the YouTube campus, a fourth person was hurt, injuring her ankle.

IMAGE: YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki is seen near the YouTube headquarters. Google, which owns the world’s biggest online video website, in a tweet, advised all other employees in the Bay Area, and people with meetings scheduled, to stay away from the area. Photograph: Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters

A spokesman for San Francisco General hospital said a 36-year-old man was in critical condition, a 32-year-old woman was in a serious condition and a 27-year-old woman was in a fair condition.

The San Bruno Police chief said the suspect was found dead at the scene and appeared to have killed herself with a 9 mm handgun.

The shooter is believed to have known at least one of the victims, two law enforcement officials said.

One of the victims, a 36-year-old man, is said to be in a critical condition.

The other two victims are a 32-year-old woman who was in serious condition and a 27-year-old woman who was in fair condition, officials said.

US President Donald Trump was briefed on the shooting.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with everybody involved. Thank you to our phenomenal law enforcement officers and First Responders that are currently on the scene," he said.

IMAGE: FBI agents gathered at the headquarters to probe the shooting incident. Photograph: Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters

Google, which owns the world’s biggest online video website, in a tweet, advised all other employees in the Bay Area, and people with meetings scheduled, to stay away from the area.

'There is no need to take any action. We have provided employees a helpline,' it said.

In another tweet, it said the company was coordinating with authorities.

'Re: YouTube situation, we are coordinating with authorities and will provide official information here from Google and YouTube as it becomes available,' Google communications tweeted. 

In an email to his employee, Google CEO Sunder Pichai said that the shooting happened when employees were having lunch at YouTube headquarters.

'Earlier this afternoon, while our employees were having lunch, we received reports of an active shooter at YouTube in San Bruno. Law, enforcement and our security team worked to evacuate the buildings and prioritise the safety of everyone there,' Pichai said in a message which was posted on Twitter.

'The best information we have is that the situation is contained. We are very actively monitoring and working with local authorities and hospitals. lt ‘s with great sadness that I tell you -- based on the latest information -- four people were injured in this horrific act of violence,' Pichai said.

IMAGE: Officers conducting a search located a deceased female inside with a possible self-inflicted gunshot wound. Photograph: Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters

'From everyone at Apple, we send our sympathy and support to the team at YouTube and Google, especially the victims and their families,' the company’s CEO Tim Cook tweeted.

'My stomach sinks with yet another active shooter alert. I’m praying for the safety of everyone at YouTube headquarters,' tweeted Senator Dianne Feinstein.

YouTube headquarters is located some 50 kilometres from the main Google campus in Mountain View.

Lalit K Jha
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