The suspect in the shooting at YouTube’s headquarters Tuesday has been identified as an Iranian-born woman who, according to her family, had a vendetta against the Internet giant because it stopped paying her for videos she posted on the platform.
Nasim Aghdam, 39, who is accused of walking on to the campus of YouTube’s San Bruno, California headquarters and shooting three people before killing herself, complained one year ago that the video-sharing company “discriminated and filtered” content she posted on her channel, according to an investigative unit for NBC’s San Francisco Bay Area affiliate.
Her father, Ismail Aghdam, reported her missing Monday and received a call from Mountain View police around 2 a.m. Tuesday saying they found Nasim sleeping in a car.
He told NBC he warned police his daughter, who lived in Southern California, might be headed to YouTube headquarters because she “hated” the company.
YouTube, the father said, “stopped everything and now she has no income.”
Mountain View Police spokeswoman Katie Nelson did not respond to a question about whether police were warned Aghdam might go to YouTube.
But she confirmed to reporters that the woman was found by police officers in the early morning hours Tuesday and questioned.
“At the conclusion of our discussion, her family was notified that she had been located,” Nelson said.
After the shooting at about 12:45 p.m. Tuesday, investigators were looking into whether she may have been targeting a boyfriend. But San Bruno Police said in a statement late Tuesday night they were still trying to determine her motive.
“At this time there is no evidence that the shooter knew the victims of this shooting or that individuals were specifically targeted,” the department said.
San Bruno Police Chief Ed Barberini said three people were taken to hospitals: a 36-year-old man in critical condition, a 32-year-old woman in serious condition and a 27-year-old woman in fair condition.
Nasim’s brother, Shahran Aghdam, told reporters Tuesday night at the family’s home in Menifee, California, southeast of Los Angeles, that the family came to California from Iran in 1996. Nasim, he said, had been living recently with her grandmother in San Diego.
“She was always complaining that YouTube ruined her life,” he said.
Nasim Aghdam was prolific on social media. Along with her odd workout videos, she posted graphic animal abuse videos and vegan cooking tutorials, the San Jose Mercury News said.
On March 18, she posted a rant against YouTube on Instagram.
“All my youtube channels got filtered by youtube so my videos hardly get views and it is called ‘merely relegation,'” she wrote. “This is also happening to many other channels on youtube. This is the peaceful tactic used on the internet to censor and suppress people who speak the truth and are not good for the financial, political … gains of the system and big businesses. I recently got filtered on instagram too and maybe its related to youtube and youtube staff asked instagram to filter me here too!!?”
The NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit found a video posted in January 2017 in which she complained that YouTube “filtered” her channel featuring workout videos, imposing an age restriction because they were too racy.
On Facebook, she said: “Be aware … there is no free speech in real world and you will be suppressed for telling the truth that is not supported by the system. Videos of targeted users are filtered and merely relegated, so that people can hardly see their videos.”
On Instagram, she posted a video with a caption that said, “What do you think of freedom of speech and does it really exist in western countries?”
NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit said she posted a news report by the San Diego Union Tribune that showed a photo of her spattered in blood and holding a plastic sword at a demonstration by PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
In 2014, she posted a video on YouTube of the car that apparently was towed from YouTube’s campus Tuesday. She says in the video that the car was vandalized by “anti-vegans” because it bore a bumper sticker saying “meat is murder.”
Facebook post by Nasim Aghdam
Meanwhile, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., issued a statement following the shooting calling for gun control.
“We simply must take meaningful steps to stop these shootings and stem the tide of gun violence in our communities,” she said.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called for gun control as the shooting incident developed Tuesday.
Pelosi tweeted: “My staff & I are closely following developments from the active shooter situation at YouTube HQ in San Bruno, CA. Thank you to our heroic first responders. Our Bay Area community – and all American communities – deserve real action to #EndGunViolence.”
Last month, in the wake of gun-control activism in response to the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, YouTube quietly introduced tighter restrictions on videos that feature weapons.
YouTube said it would ban videos that promote or link to websites selling firearms and accessories, including bump stocks, which allow a semi-automatic rifle to fire faster.
The video-sharing site also announced a ban on instructions on assembling firearms.