Police defend decision not to detain YouTube shooter hours before shooting

Police in northern California defended on Wednesday their decision not to detain the woman who later opened fire at YouTube’s offices after they found her sleeping in her car hours before the shooting, saying she gave them no cause for concern.

The shooter, Nasim Najafi Aghdam, wounded three people at YouTube’s in San Bruno, Calif., headquarters on Tuesday before killing herself. Investigators said they believe Aghdam, an active YouTube user, was upset with the video-sharing site’s monetization policies and practices. The 39-year-old Iranian-born woman of Persian descent, who lived in southern California, was reported missing by her family on March 31 in San Diego County.

According to a lengthy statement issued by the Mountain View Police Department, authorities said they discovered Aghdam sleeping in her car in a parking lot around 1:40 a.m. on Tuesday morning. Officers ran her license plate and discovered she had been reported missing and was considered “at risk” because she had never gone missing or left home before.

Aghdam “positively identified herself” and told police she had “decided to leave her family’s home a few days prior due to family issues.”

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Shooting at YouTube headquarters in San Bruno, California
YouTube employees are seen walking away from Youtube headquarters following an active shooter situation in San Bruno, California, U.S., April 3, 2018. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Yellow tarp seen at YouTube HQ as police continue searching for shooter (@KTVU) https://t.co/bwTLj8Ewgf
A police officer and crime scene markers are seen at Youtube headquarters following an active shooter situation in San Bruno, California, U.S., April 3, 2018. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
SAN BRUNO, CA - APRIL 03: Police walk outside of the YouTube headquarters on April 3, 2018 in San Bruno, California. Police are investigating an active shooter incident at YouTube headquarters that has left at least one person dead and several wounded. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN BRUNO, CA - APRIL 03: Police walk outside of the YouTube headquarters on April 3, 2018 in San Bruno, California. Police are investigating an active shooter incident at YouTube headquarters that has left at least one person dead and several wounded. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN BRUNO, UNITED STATES - APRIL 3: Security measures are taken after security forces responded to an active shooter at YouTube's California headquarters in San Bruno, California, United States on April 3, 2018. A woman shot and wounded at least four people before possibly taking her own life at YouTube's California headquarters Tuesday, according to police. (Photo by Yichuan Cao/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Police officers are seen at Youtube headquarters following an active shooter situation in San Bruno, California, U.S., April 3, 2018. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
SAN BRUNO, CA - APRIL 03: Police officers stand by in front of the YouTube headquarters on April 3, 2018 in San Bruno, California. Police are investigating an active shooter incident at YouTube headquarters that has left at least one person dead and several wounded. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN BRUNO, CA - APRIL 03: Police officers stand by in front of the YouTube headquarters on April 3, 2018 in San Bruno, California. Police are investigating an active shooter incident at YouTube headquarters that has left at least one person dead and several wounded. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN BRUNO, CA - APRIL 03: Police officers stand by in front of the YouTube headquarters on April 3, 2018 in San Bruno, California. Police are investigating an active shooter incident at YouTube headquarters that has left at least one person dead and several wounded. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN BRUNO, CA - APRIL 03: Police in tactical gear walk outside of the YouTube headquarters on April 3, 2018 in San Bruno, California. A woman opened fire at the facility, wounding four people before taking her own life, according to authorities. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN BRUNO, CA - APRIL 03: Police in tactical gear walk outside of the YouTube headquarters on April 3, 2018 in San Bruno, California. A woman opened fire at the facility, wounding four people before taking her own life, according to authorities. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
We are seeing @YouTube employees being brought out with hands up! https://t.co/ZlSMY9FIVm
SAN BRUNO, CA - APRIL 03: Police look on as employees walk across the streer outside of the YouTube headquarters on April 3, 2018 in San Bruno, California. A woman opened fire at the facility, wounding four people before taking her own life, according to authorities. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN BRUNO, CA - APRIL 03: Law enforcement stands watch outside of the YouTube headquarters on April 3, 2018 in San Bruno, California. Police are investigating an active shooter incident at YouTube headquarters that has left at least one person dead and several wounded. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Media gather outside during an active shooting at YouTube's offices in San Bruno, California on April 3, 2018. Gunshots erupted at YouTube's offices in California Tuesday, sparking a panicked escape by employees and a massive police response.Some media reports said several people were injured. San Bruno police warned on Twitter to stay away from the area housing the headquarters of the Google-owned video sharing service near San Francisco. / AFP PHOTO / Josh Edelson (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
The offices of YouTube are seen in the distance outside after an active shooting at YouTube's offices in San Bruno, California on April 3, 2018. Gunshots erupted at YouTube's offices in California Tuesday, sparking a panicked escape by employees and a massive police response, before the shooter -- a woman -- apparently committed suicide.Police said three people had been hospitalized with gunshot injuries following the shooting in the city of San Bruno, and that a female suspect was found dead at the scene. 'We have one subject who is deceased inside the building with a self-inflicted wound,' San Bruno Police Chief Ed Barberini told reporters. 'At this time, we believe it to be the shooter.' / AFP PHOTO / Hand-Out / Josh Edelson (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
SAN BRUNO, CA - APRIL 03: Law enforcement stands watch outside of the YouTube headquarters on April 3, 2018 in San Bruno, California. Police are investigating an active shooter incident at YouTube headquarters that has left at least one person dead and several wounded. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN BRUNO, UNITED STATES - APRIL 3: Security measures are taken after police officers responded to an active shooter at YouTube's California headquarters in San Bruno, California, United States on April 3, 2018. The San Bruno Police Department urged people to stay away from the building, located at Cherry Ave and Bay Hill Drive. (Photo by Yichuan Cao/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SAN BRUNO, UNITED STATES - APRIL 3: Security measures are taken after police officers responded to an active shooter at YouTube's California headquarters in San Bruno, California, United States on April 3, 2018. The San Bruno Police Department urged people to stay away from the building, located at Cherry Ave and Bay Hill Drive. (Photo by Yichuan Cao/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SAN BRUNO, CA - APRIL 03: Police walk outside of the YouTube headquarters on April 3, 2018 in San Bruno, California. Police are investigating an active shooter incident at YouTube headquarters that has left at least one person dead and several wounded. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN BRUNO, CA - APRIL 03: San Bruno police chief Ed Barberini speaks to members of the media outside of the YouTube headquarters on April 3, 2018 in San Bruno, California. Police are investigating an active shooter incident at YouTube headquarters that has left at least one person dead and several wounded. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN BRUNO, CA - APRIL 03: Police survey the scene outside of the YouTube headquarters on April 3, 2018 in San Bruno, California. Police are investigating an active shooter incident at YouTube headquarters that has left at least one person dead and several wounded. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN BRUNO, CA - APRIL 03: San Bruno police chief Ed Barberini speaks to members of the media outside of the YouTube headquarters on April 3, 2018 in San Bruno, California. Police are investigating an active shooter incident at YouTube headquarters that has left at least one person dead and several wounded. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN BRUNO, UNITED STATES - APRIL 3: Security measures are taken after police officers responded to an active shooter at YouTube's California headquarters in San Bruno, California, United States on April 3, 2018. The San Bruno Police Department urged people to stay away from the building, located at Cherry Ave and Bay Hill Drive. (Photo by Yichuan Cao/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
San Mateo County SWAT team officers are seen near Youtube headquarters following an active shooter situation in San Bruno, California, U.S., April 3, 2018. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Law enforcement officers are seen near a patio with crime scene markers at Youtube headquarters following an active shooter situation in San Bruno, California, U.S., April 3, 2018. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Burlingame police chief Eric Wollman pets Kimba while bringing him to his owner following an active shooter situation at Youtube headquarters in San Bruno, California, U.S., April 3, 2018. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
A fire engine is seen outside Youtube headquarters following an active shooter situation in San Bruno, California, U.S., April 3, 2018. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Burlingame police chief Eric Wollman hands off Kimba to his owner following an active shooter situation at Youtube headquarters in San Bruno, California, U.S., April 3, 2018. According to his owner, Kimba was present when the shooting occurred. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
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“She stated she had come to the area to stay with family and while she was currently living out of her vehicle, she was in the process of looking for a job,” the statement read. “During our contact with her, she was asked a series of questions including, but not limited to, if she was a danger to herself or others. At no point during our roughly 20 minute interaction with her did she mention anything about YouTube, if she was upset with them, or that she had planned to harm herself or others. Throughout our entire interaction with her, she was calm and cooperative. At the conclusion of our interaction with her, she in no way met any reason for us to speak with her further or possibly detain her.”

Police then called her family to report that she had been found.

“The father confirmed to us that the family had been having issues at home, but did not act in any way concerned about why his daughter had left,” the statement said. “At no point during that conversation did either Aghdam’s father or brother make any statements regarding the woman’s potential threat to, or a possible attack on, the YouTube campus. Also, there was no indication from either Aghdam or her family that she may have been in possession of any weapons.”

But following Tuesday’s shooting, Aghdam’s brother told KGTV that the family was concerned that she was in the Bay area.

“I googled ‘Mountain View’ and it was close to YouTube headquarters. And she had a problem with YouTube,” he told the ABC affiliate . “So I called that cop again and told him there’s a reason she went all the way from San Diego to there, so she might do something. So they didn’t do anything, and she got killed.”

Mountain View police dismissed the suggestion they did nothing, and refuted the brother’s description of the call.

“Her father called us back to let us know that she made a series of vegan videos for her channel on YouTube and that the company had recently done something to her videos that had caused her to become upset,” their statement said. “Aghdam’s father stated that she may have been in the area because of this. He did not seemed 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.”

Police added: “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. They remained calm throughout this second phone call.”

The San Bruno Police Department said on Wednesday a semi-automatic handgun registered to Aghdam was recovered at the scene.

San Bruno Police Chief Ed Barberini told reporters that Aghdam went to a local gun range on Tuesday morning morning prior to the shooting at YouTube.

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