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Gun violence in the US

Woman with gun at YouTube offices kills herself after wounding three people

Law enforcement officials say shooting is being investigated as a domestic dispute

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 April, 2018, 4:19am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 April, 2018, 3:26pm

An attack at YouTube’s headquarters near San Francisco ended with the shooter - a woman - turning the gun on herself and committing suicide, police said.

Police later identified the suspect as Nasim Aghdam of Southern California, but did not say what might have motivated the shooting rampage Tuesday at YouTube, a video-sharing service owned by Alphabet Inc’s Google.

But senior law enforcement officials believe the shooting stemmed from a domestic dispute, US media reported.

A US government security official said there was no known connection to terrorism.

The shooting was the latest in a string of mass killings carried out in the United States in recent years. Most recently, the massacre of 17 people at a Florida high school has led to calls for tighter restrictions on gun ownership.

YouTube employee Dianna Arnspiger said she was on the building’s second floor when she heard gun shots, ran to a window and saw the shooter on a patio outside.

She said the woman wore glasses and a scarf and was using a “big huge pistol”.

“It was a woman and she was firing her gun. And I just said, ‘Shooter,’ and everybody started running,” Arnspiger said.

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

“It was terrifying,” she said.

Television news footage showed people leaving the building in a line, holding their arms in the air. Officers patted them down to make sure none had weapons.

Officers discovered one victim with a gunshot wound when they arrived and then found the shooter with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound several minutes later, San Bruno Police Chief Ed Barberini said.

He said two additional gunshot victims were later located at an adjacent business and that a fourth injured person suffered an ankle injury.

Other employees recounted frantic scenes as they fled YouTube’s headquarters, with one saying he saw blood on the floor as he escaped.

As the shooting occurred, YouTube employee Vadim Lavrusik tweeted: “Active shooter at YouTube HQ. Heard shots and saw people running while at my desk. Now barricaded inside a room with coworkers.”

Another Google employee, Todd Sherman, tweeted: “We were sitting in a meeting and then we heard people running because it was rumbling the floor. First thought was earthquake.”

He went on to describe his passage out of the building: “At that point every new person I saw was a potential shooter. Someone else said that the person shot out the back doors and then shot themselves.

“I looked down and saw blood drips on the floor and stairs. Peaked around for threats and then we headed downstairs and out the front.”

He added that he had exited the building and was in a car heading home; Lavrusik also tweeted 15 minutes after his initial remarks: “Safe. Got evacuated it. Outside now.”

The shooting comes one week after the site said it would ban videos about gun sales.

After the attack, US President Donald Trump tweeted: “Was just briefed on the shooting at YouTube’s HQ in San Bruno, California. Our thoughts and prayers are with everybody involved. 

“Thank you to our phenomenal Law Enforcement Officers and First Responders that are currently on the scene.”

Google CEO Sundar Pichai called the shooting at the YouTube headquarters “a horrific act of violence”.

He said the parent company of YouTube was doing everything it can to support the victims and their families.

Pichai also said the company “will continue to provide support to help everyone in our Google family heal from this unimaginable tragedy”,

YouTube headquarters is located some 50 kilometres (30 miles)from the main Google campus in Mountain View.

The shooting, which follows a series of deadly gun incidents at schools and elsewhere, comes amid heated debate on gun control measures in the United States.

Female mass shooters are rare. A recent Washington Post analysis shows only three out of 150 U.S. shootings with more than four victims since 1966 were done by women. In 2015, a husband and wife killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California.

An estimated 1.5 million people participated in demonstrations March 24 calling for stricter firearms measures following a deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Organisers of the March for Our Lives sent a message of solidarity to the employees hit by Tuesday’s shooting, tweeting “Our hearts are with you, @YouTube”.

Reuters, The Guardian, Agence France-Presse