SAN FRANCISCO — Authorities on Thursday promised a deeper investigation of the YouTube shooter’s past and her anger with the online video website, which police have identified as the motive for her attack on the company’s headquarters south of San Francisco.
“This will be a long and very methodical investigation,” said Geoff Caldwell, a police commander in San Bruno, where YouTube is located.
Nasim Aghdam, an Iranian native who was in her late 30s, walked through a parking garage into a courtyard at YouTube’s campus on Tuesday and opened fire with a handgun, police said. She wounded three people before killing herself.
Caldwell said she had legally bought the 9mm handgun from in San Diego in January, and it was registered in her name. He declined to say where she purchased the weapon. During the shooting, she swapped out a magazine and shot from the second magazine when she killed herself.
Police have previously said Aghdam went to a gun range before arriving at YouTube. Caldwell declined to identify the range, but said employees of the range reached out to police after the shooting to report that Aghdam had practiced there. Officers spent nearly two hours Wednesday at the Jackson Arms Shooting Range in South San Francisco, a few miles from the YouTube headquarters.
Investigators will likely scrutinize Aghdam’s movements during the nearly nine-hour drive from her family’s home near San Diego to YouTube’s headquarters and will examine the bizarre videos she posted online and the posts about her, as well as look for any messages she may have sent to company officials.
Federal and state investigators also executed search warrants at two homes associated with the family, collecting evidence.
The most seriously wounded victim, a 36-year-old man initially classified by hospital officials as critical, had his condition upgraded to fair on Thursday. The two women who were wounded were released Wednesday from a San Francisco hospital.
Aghdam was prolific at producing videos and posting them online. She exercised, promoted animal rights and explained the vegan diet, often in bizarre productions with elaborate costumes or carrying a rabbit.
She posted the videos under the online name Nasime Sabz, and a website in that name decried YouTube’s policies, saying the company was trying to “suppress” content creators.
“Youtube filtered my channels to keep them from getting views!” one of the messages said.
YouTube had no comment about any actions related to Aghdam’s videos.
The suspect’s father, Ismail Aghdam, told the Bay Area News Group he warned police the day before the attack that his daughter was upset with how YouTube handled her videos and might be planning to go to its offices.
San Diego sheriff’s Lt. Karen Stubkjaer said Thursday the father never told deputies that she was a risk to herself or others when he reported her missing.
Police in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Mountain View said they spoke to Ismail Aghdam twice after contacting the family to report finding his daughter early Tuesday morning and that he also never told them she could become violent or pose a threat to YouTube employees.
Aghdam also ran a Farsi-language public channel on the messaging app Telegram, which had 6,000 followers.
One video was a tutorial about how to massage buttocks, and another featured a song praising Bahaism, a religion that originated in Iran but is heavily suppressed by the Islamic Republic.
People in Iran expressed pity and shock that Aghdam would shoot others in a country that allows more social media freedoms. State TV briefly reported the shooting based on international reports.
Hossein Naderi, a 23-year-old art student in Tehran, questioned why Aghdam chose to live in America, adding: “I wish I was there to use YouTube freely.”
Kimia Shobeiri, 18, suggested the shooting was a ploy to get attention.
“She was insane and just wanted to make herself famous,” she said. “With this act she damaged the reputation of Iranians.”
Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo in Los Angeles and Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran contributed to this report.