Who Was The YouTube Shooting Suspect?

The YouTube shooting suspect appears to have been an animal rights and vegan activist. But she also had a history of anger toward the tech giant.

Nasim Najafi Aghdam, the 38-year-old suspect who stormed into the YouTube campus with a handgun and then shot three people, appears to have had a personal grudge against the company.

She’s also one of the few female attackers in recent history. As only nine out of the 220 active shooter incidents between 2000 and 2016 involved female assailants.

Her brother, who talked to CNN but did not want to be identified, said that over the weekend, his sister went missing. His father, Ismail Aghdam, contacted the authorities, who found her sleeping in her car in Mountain View, California, more than 700 miles northwest of where she lived in San Diego.

Once Ismail Aghdam's brother noticed Mountain View was close to YouTube headquarters, he feared the worst.

“I Googled 'Mountain View,' and it was close to YouTube headquarters. And she had a problem with YouTube," he said.

He then called the police and reportedly told them that "she went all the way from San Diego, so she might do something."

Two weeks prior to the incident, Aghdam had told her family she was upset at YouTube for pulling the monetization capabilities from her channels. In his call to the police, the suspect’s father reportedly said she “hated” the tech company and that she might end up there precisely because of her grudge.

Police in Mountain View then spotted the woman in a city parking lot on Tuesday morning and contacted the family. They said that it was all “under control.”

Well, it wasn’t.

Aghdam reportedly went on to create chaos that very day just before 1 p.m., making her family’s worst fears come to life.

San Bruno Police Chief Ed Barberini told reporters on Wednesday that they knew about the report that Aghdam had gone missing. But he said he was not sure whether the family’s concerns were properly communicated to the police department.

It’s been reported that Aghdam, was a prolific YouTuber who ran at least four channels. CNN reported that one was in Farsi, one was in Turkish, one was in English, and the last one was devoted to hand art.

In what appears to be the woman’s website, she complains that the company was censoring her.

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

On another post, she accused the company’s employees of being “close-minded” by putting an age restriction on her videos. This, she said, was meant as a way to discourage her from making more content.

One of her channels also described her as a vegan bodybuilder and an animal rights activist.

In 2009, The Los Angeles Times reported, Aghdam was participating in an animal rights protest outside of Camp Pendleton where she was interviewed.

"For me, animal rights equals human rights," she said. “Just because they can't talk doesn't mean we should take advantage of them."

During the chaotic scene at YouTube headquarters, CNN affiliate KPIX reported, the suspect told people to “Come at me” or “come get me,” according to witness Zach Voorhies, a senior software engineer at YouTube.

"I went outside with my electric skateboard and I started skating down, because I thought it was a fire," he said. "I heard some yelling and I saw somebody down on his back with a red spot on his stomach."

As he fled the building, he heard the shooter yell.

This horrific and terrifying story reminds us that people who want to do others harm will go out of their way to do so, and that fear of being caught is not a deterrent. 

Hopefully, the police will be able to release more information on this attack soon.

Banner/thumbnail credit: San Bruno Police Department/Handout via REUTERS

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