Local police had interacted with Nasim Aghdam about 12 hours before she opened fire at YouTube headquarters with a handgun on Tuesday, but they didn’t see any signs of a pending attack.
After her family reported her missing in San Diego on Saturday, police in Mountain View, some 470 miles away, found 38-year-old Aghdam asleep in her car in a parking lot early Tuesday morning. They say they talked to her for about 20 minutes, saw no reason to detain her, and proceeded to call her father at 2 a.m. to inform him they’d found her, according to the San Jose Mercury News. The father told the Bay Area News Group that the police said the situation was “under control.”
The police said in a statement Wednesday morning that Aghdam was “calm and cooperative” and told the officers she was living in her car because she was in the area looking for a job. The conversation lasted about 20 minutes, according to the police department, and at no point did Aghdam mention YouTube or any plans of violence.
About an hour after the first phone call with the family, Aghdam’s father called back and mentioned she had been upset at YouTube. She’d been a prolific vlogger on the platform, drawing thousands of views.
“He did not seem concerned that she was in the area, and wanted to simply let us know that may have been a reason for her move up here,” the police department said in a statement about the second call with her father. ”Once again, at no point did her father or brother mention anything about potential acts of violence or a possibility of Aghdam lashing out as a result of her issues with her videos.”
When her brother learned where Mountain View was, some 25 miles from YouTube’s corporate campus in San Bruno, he warned police she might be headed toward the tech company because of a deep-seated grudge.
"I Googled 'Mountain View,' and it was close to YouTube headquarters. And she had a problem with YouTube," her brother told CNN affiliate KGTV. He informed the police that “there’s a reason she went all the way from San Diego [where she lived], so she might do something."
Later that afternoon, Aghdam went on a shooting attack in the YouTube courtyard, injuring four people, creating a mass evacuation of company employees, and locking down nearby buildings. She died at the scene of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
After the initial phone call between Mountain View Police Department and Aghdam’s father and brother, officers didn’t see a risk of violence.
The chief of the San Bruno Police Department, Ed Barberini, said early Wednesday they still did not know whether the local police departments had communicated with each other before the attack.
It is not clear whether the officers had searched Aghdam’s car or informed the San Bruno Police Department, which patrols the area where YouTube is located, . The Mountain View PD did not immediately respond to VICE News request for comment.
“We don't know exactly how communication was relayed to the local police department down there and if so, how it was transferred to wherever it needed to be transferred,” Barberini said to ABC News’ “Good Morning America.”
The father did not immediately answer VICE News request for comment.
The vegan bodybuilder railed against YouTube in videos online, claiming she was being “discriminated and filtered” against and that the company was cheating her out of money, that despite hundreds of thousands of views, she was making very little.
“There is no free speech in real world and you will be suppressed for telling the truth that is not supported by the system,” Aghdam posted on her website in bright yellow, red, and black script. “Videos of targeted users are filtered and merely relegated, so that people can hardly see their videos. There is no equal growth opportunity on YOUTUBE or any other video sharing site, your channel will grow if they want to.”
San Bruno’s Barberini said on “Good Morning America” his department was still gathering information to “definitively” describe the motive.
"We have a pretty good idea, but we'd like to get some more information before we can definitively say exactly what that motive was," he said. "But obviously she was upset with some of the practices or policies that the company had employed."
Google’s Chief Executive Officer Sunday Pichai sent an email to company employees decrying the “horrific act of violence” and expressing gratitude to first responders.
"I know a lot of you are in shock right now," he wrote. "Over the coming days, we will continue to provide support to help everyone in our Google family heal from this unimaginable tragedy."
Cover image: Law enforcement officials walk toward YouTube offices in San Bruno, Calif., Tuesday, April 3, 2018. A woman opened fire Tuesday at YouTube headquarters, wounding some people before fatally shooting herself as terrified employees huddled inside, police and witnesses said. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)