MOUNTAIN VIEW (CBS SF/AP) — Just hours before she shot and wounded three people at YouTube headquarters, Nasim Aghdam calmly told police who found her sleeping in her car that she was having family problems and had left her home.
Mountain View police were on a routine patrol of a Walmart parking lot, running license plates of parked cars, when they got a hit. A white Pontiac they found at around 2 a.m. Tuesday morning was connected to a missing person’s case in San Diego County.
The officer tapped on the glass and found Aghdam inside.
- Police Visit South SF Gun Range Not Far From YouTube HQ
- YouTube Shooter’s Social Media, Website Scrubbed From Internet
- Hatred Of YouTube Fueled Shooting
- Fast-Food Worker Rushed To Aid Shooting Victim
- San Francisco Surgeon Expresses Outrage Over YouTube Mass Shooting
- Shooting Suspect At YouTube Headquarters Identified
“She was essentially a citizen who was asleep in her car, which is not illegal,” Mountain View Police Chief Max Bosel explained to KPIX 5.
The officer questioned her for 20 minutes, checked her identification and found she had no outstanding warrants. Aghdam stayed inside the car the whole time. The police chief said there was no probable cause to search the car.
“She seemed very normal, very calm, very cooperative, very relaxed,” said Bosel. “Her conduct did not raise any concern by the officers who were on scene with her.”
Bosel said Aghdam did not appear to be a danger to herself or others.
“Could the officer have asked her if she had a weapon? Sure. The officer could ask a number of questions,” said Bosel. “So I think the questioning and the interaction that was occurring at the time, there was no real reason for that.”
Mountain View police later spoke with family members, who confirmed there was a falling out.
But then, Aghdam’s family realized Mountain View was close to YouTube headquarters and called the police back to tell them she had a ongoing dispute with YouTube.
A family member describes the conversation with Mountain View police.
The parent warn police, ‘Be careful, maybe she’s angry at YouTube.’ That she had this anger for one year. They filter her, explained an unidentified relative in one television interview.
Later that day, she went to a gun range before walking through a parking garage into a courtyard at YouTube’s campus south of San Francisco, where she opened fire with a handgun and wounded three people. She then killed herself.
But the chief countered that the family gave them no warnings of violence.
“There was no suggestion whatsoever of any violent outburst or intent,” Bosel said.
KPIX 5 security analyst Jeff Harp said it appears Mountain View police acted appropriately.
“We turn around 24 hours later and we think, ‘Wow, maybe they should’ve detained her.’ For what?” asked Harp.
He also noted that law enforcement have to be wary of violating civil rights or racial profiling.
“Any time something like this happens, you can’t automatically determine, based on the name or nationality, that a person is connected to a certain group that may have a greater propensity to do this,” Harp said.
“We also have to be sensitive to an individual’s civil liberties and constitutional rights,” said Bosel. “And we do balance that with what might be a contact with a police authority and an individual who is free to go about their daily work and daily life.”
The sequence of Aghdam’s activities emerged Wednesday as police continued gathering information about the attacker and her motives.
Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives searched two Southern California homes where Aghdam had lived. Spokeswoman Ginger Colbrun would not confirm the locations but reporters saw agents entering homes in the communities of Menifee, southeast of Los Angeles, and 4S Ranch, north of San Diego.
Aghdam was a “really good person” and had no history of mental illness, said a woman named Leila who identified herself as an aunt as she entered the family home in Menifee. She did not give her last name.
The shooter’s family later distributed a statement outside the home saying it was “in absolute shock and can’t make sense of what has happened.”
“Although no words can describe our deep pain for this tragedy, our family would like to express their utmost regret, sorrow for what has happened to innocent victims,” the statement said.
Investigators do not believe Aghdam, who was in her late 30s, targeted anyone in particular, and there is no reason to believe she illegally obtained the semi-automatic 9mm pistol used in the shooting, San Bruno Police Chief Ed Barberini said.
Authorities are still trying to determine whether she got past security measures to enter YouTube headquarters, he said.
Two women wounded in the shooting were released Wednesday from a San Francisco hospital. The third victim, a 36-year-old man, was upgraded from critical to serious condition.
The day before the attack, the shooter’s father, Ismail Aghdam, said he warned police that his daughter was upset with how YouTube handled her videos and might be planning to go to its offices.
Aghdam “hated” YouTube and was angry that the company stopped paying her for videos she posted, Ismail Aghdam told the Bay Area News Group. Her video posts included segments about veganism, animal cruelty and exercise, along with glamour shots of herself.
Nasim Aghdam used the name “Nasime Sabz” online, a law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the case.
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!!!!!”
People who post on YouTube can receive money from advertisements that accompany their videos, but the company “de-monetizes” some channels for reasons including inappropriate material or having fewer than 1,000 subscribers.
YouTube had no immediate comment about any actions related to Aghdam’s videos.
© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.