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YouTube shooter legally bought handgun, reloaded at least once during attack, police say

Nasim Aghdam (Facebook)

The woman who shot three people at YouTube’s headquarters legally purchased her handgun and reloaded during the attack before turning the firearm on herself, according to multiple reports.

Nasim Aghdam, 39, bought the 9 mm Smith and Wesson pistol from a shop in San Diego on Jan. 16 — about 11 weeks before she targeted the company, unleashing chaos as employees were eating lunch, San Bruno police Commander Geoff Caldwell told USA TODAY.

He said Iranian-born Aghdam “ran out of ammunition, dropped an empty magazine” then reloaded to continue her attack. He said it’s unclear whether she made any remarks during the incident before shooting herself.

Investigators on Thursday continued scouring Aghdam’s digital footprint to piece together her movements and motive and determine whether anyone else might have known about her plans.

Police say so far the only connection they can find between her and YouTube is her anger that the service had recently changed how she was compensated for posting videos.

Aghdam, who posted a mishmash of workout videos, rants against animal cruelty and vegan cooking tips on YouTube, detailed her frustrations in videos and posts on her website and social media accounts, which have since been deleted.

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.

“They only care for personal short term profits and do anything to reach their goals…” Aghdam posted on her website. “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.”

It’s still unclear why she turned the gun on herself and whether she could have continued firing. Three people were shot, a fourth suffered an ankle injury. Police say there was no evidence she knew the victims or that individuals were specifically targeted.

Before going to the company’s headquarters, she practiced with the weapon, which was registered in her name, at a nearby gun range. Workers contacted police after the attack, Caldwell said.

On Wednesday, authorities searched two houses connected with Aghdam and collected evidence for the investigation.

Also on Wednesday, police in the town of Mountain View, Calif., about 30 miles south of San Bruno, disclosed that officers there found Aghdam sleeping in her car the night before the shooting, contacting her at the request of her parents, who reported her missing.

She didn’t appear to be a danger to herself and told police she was looking for work in the area.

“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,” police said. “Throughout our entire interaction with her, she was calm and cooperative.”

Eleven hours after the interaction, Aghdam opened fire at the company’s headquarters.

Contributing: Kim Hjelmgaard and Trevor Hughes


© 2018 USA Today

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