YouTube shooter visited gun range before attack

Jo Caldwell
April 9, 2018

Police said Thursday, April 5 that Nasim Aghdam legally purchased the firearm in San Diego on January 16, 2018 from a gun dealer in her name. She exercised, promoted animal rights and explained the vegan diet, often in weird productions with elaborate costumes or carrying a rabbit.

Her father told police she was upset because she felt YouTube was making it harder for her to earn money via advertising on her videos.

The Jackson Arms Shooting Range has surveillance cameras inside and outside of the facility and is about 3 miles (5 kilometers) from YouTube's headquarters.

Investigators will likely scrutinize Aghdam's movements during the almost nine-hour drive from her family's home near San Diego to YouTube's headquarters and will examine the freakish videos she posted online and the posts about her, as well as look for any messages she may have sent to company officials.

The 39-year-old Persian-American Nasim Najafi Aghdam stormed into the headquarters of YouTube in Silicon Valley and shot three people with her 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun. "She was a nice person, until today".

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Police said there was nothing during their 20-minute interaction with Nasim Aghdam that suggested plans for violence, and characterized their conversations with her father and brother as "calm" and mentioning no nefarious plans. They were members of the Baha'i faith, a persecuted religion in a mostly Muslim country. "There is no free speech in the real world and you will be suppressed for telling the truth that is not supported by the system".

There was a time several years ago, however, when she seemed to be enjoying the fruits of her free speech.

The statement says Mountain View officers encountered her at about 1:40 a.m. sleeping in a vehicle and did not mention YouTube while officers spoke with her for 20 minutes. She featured everything from graphic images of dogs being skinned to vegan cooking tutorials.

Those channels, along with Aghdam's website and profiles on Facebook and Instagram, had all been taken down by Wednesday afternoon. In the Q-&-A, she explained that veganism "is a diet of peace for all caring citizens of this planet, humans and non-human animals". Aghdam's mother was crying, and her brother told one of the reporters that he did not know she owned a gun.

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Neighbor John Rundell says she painted her parents' house after the family moved in, that the entire family is "very, very friendly" and that her father is an electrical contractor.

"In a country like Iran where women are always asked to cover up, I thought it was empowered, very feminist and very fearless", Kim said.

It's still unclear why she turned the gun on herself and whether she could have continued firing.

She and others hid in a conference room for an hour while another employee repeatedly called 911 for updates.

So, no, Aghdam doesn't fit the narrative of the white male gun nut simmering with repressed rage who lets it all out with an AR-15 (though perhaps she would have killed more people had California's stringent gun laws not barred her from that weapon of war).

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Authorities have said Nasim Aghdam visited a gun range before the rampage at YouTube. "They fought a lot", he said. "It was like she was staring me down". Aghdam had harbored a grudge for a year, the woman added, after the video-sharing site put what she called a "filter" on her videos.

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