A woman opened fire with a handgun in a courtyard at YouTube headquarters, injuring three people before shooting herself dead in what is being investigated as a domestic dispute.
Employees huddled inside, calling police, as officers and federal agents swarmed the company’s suburban campus sandwiched between two interstate freeways in the San Francisco Bay Area city of San Bruno.
YouTube employee Dianna Arnspiger said she was on the building’s second floor when she heard gunshots, ran to a window and saw the suspect 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,” Ms Arnspiger said.
She and others hid in a conference room for an hour while another employee repeatedly called police for updates.
“It was terrifying,” she said.
Two law enforcement officials identified the suspect later as Nasim Aghdam of Southern California and said the shooting was being investigated as a domestic dispute.
Aghdam was angry at YouTube because it had stopped paying her for videos she posted on the platform, her father told the Bay Area News Group.
People who post on YouTube can receive money from advertisements that accompany their videos, but the company “de-monetises” some channels for reasons including inappropriate material or having fewer than 1,000 subscribers.
YouTube had “stopped everything”, and “she was angry”, Ismail Aghdam said.
Ismail Aghdam said he reported his daughter missing on Monday after she did not answer her phone for two days.
He said the family received a call from Mountain View police at around 2am on Tuesday saying they found Nasim sleeping in a car.
He said he warned them she might be heading for YouTube because she “hated” the company.
Mountain View Police spokeswoman Katie Nelson confirmed officers located a woman by the same name asleep in a vehicle asleep in a Mountain View car park on Tuesday morning.
Ms Nelson said the woman declined to answer further questions but the police spokeswoman did not respond to a question about whether police were warned Aghdam might go to YouTube.
Ismail Aghdam said his daughter was a vegan activist and animal lover.
A 36-year-old man was in critical condition, a 32-year-old woman was in serious condition and a 27-year-old woman was in fair condition, a spokesman for San Francisco General Hospital said.
Witnesses described terror before officers arrived and discovered a victim near a front door and then found the suspect several minutes later with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, San Bruno Police Chief Ed Barberini said.
He said two additional gunshot victims were found at an adjacent business minutes later.
Google, which owns the world’s biggest online video website, said the company’s security team worked with authorities to evacuate buildings and was doing whatever it could support the victims and their families.
“Today it feels like the entire community of YouTube, all of the employees, were victims of this crime,” said Chris Dale, a YouTube spokesman. “Our hearts go out to all those who suffered.”
The White House said President Donald Trump was briefed on the shooting and that officials were monitoring developments.
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