Police video made public Friday shows officers talking to a woman in her car hours before she opened fire at YouTube’s headquarters in Northern California and telling them she has no intention of hurting herself or others.
The woman, Nasim Aghdam, had been reported missing by her family in Southern California and police found her asleep in her car in parking in the city of Mountain View, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) south of where YouTube is headquartered.
In the video released in response to public records requests from The Associated Press and other media organizations, Aghdam is seen being awakened by officers. She appears disheveled but is cooperative and calm.
About 11 hours after the that interaction, the prolific YouTube poster who investigators say had been angry with the company’s policies opened fire in a courtyard at the company’s headquarters. She wounded three people before fatally shooting herself.
In the video, a Mountain View police officer is seen coming upon Aghdam sleeping in a Walmart parking lot around 1:30 a.m. He is heard on the video as he checks her car’s license plate with a dispatcher, and the dispatcher says that the vehicle owner is a missing person.
After officers wake her up, Aghdam tells them that she left her home in San Diego because she was not getting along with her family.
The officers asked her if she was taking any medication, if she was thinking of harming herself or was going to hurt anyone else. Aghdam shook her head and responded “no” to all three questions.
Aghdam had legally purchased the 9mm handgun that she used in the shooting in January and had visited a gun range the morning of the shooting, police have said.
The Mountain View officers did not ask Aghdam if she had any weapons in her car. If she did not have the gun secured in the trunk or a locked container, Aghdam could have been arrested.
The officers checked several databases, including a statewide database that would indicate if someone is a registered gun owner but prohibited to possess firearms, police said.
A large portion of the 9-minute encounter is spent with police trying to help Aghdam try to find her new phone number on a telephone she had purchased. She told the officers she did not want them to give her father her new number.
After the exchange, an officer called her father, Ismail Aghdam, who said he had “been having trouble getting along” with his daughter but thanked the officers for finding her safely, police said.
About an hour after that call, the father called the officer again to tell him that he believed she may have been in the area because she “recently become upset about changes on the YouTube platform that had impacted videos she had created on living a vegan lifestyle,” police said in a statement Friday.
She posted videos under the online name Nasime Sabz, and a website in that name decried YouTube’s policies, saying the company was trying to “suppress” content creators.
Police said Aghdam’s father did not indicate that she was a danger to herself or anyone else and did not bring up any concerns about her behavior.