MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - Mountain View police on Friday released a combined 30 minutes of body camera video and dispatch radio of the early-morning interaction in a parking lot with YouTube shooter Nasim Aghdam, revealing that the 38-year-old woman was angry with her family and that left her hometown to start fresh.
"I left my family….We don’t get along together,” Aghdam is heard saying on the video, taken about 1:30 a.m. on April 3 in the parking lot at 600 Showers Drive, about 11 hours before the attack on the YouTube campus where three people were injured by gunfire. Aghdam, who later killed herself, told police she had come to the Bay Area two days prior.
Why Mountain View? the officer asked.
“To have no memories of the past,” she answered. "I have memories I don't want to have."
Included in the video are scenes from both officers’ cameras who responded to the scene and interacted with Aghdam as well as the dispatcher’s phone call to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, to whom her family had filed a missing person's report.
Mountain View police said they waited to release the video so that San Bruno police, who are the lead agency in the YouTube shooting, could view it first.
Mountain View police also revealed on Friday that once officers called her father say that they found her sleeping in her car, he called back later to tell officers that she was angry with YouTube and that’s why she might be in the area. In no way, however, did he nor his daughter indicate that she was violent, police reiterated.
“A review of the incident revealed that our officers followed proper procedure and protocol. In this case, they checked on the welfare of a person who, at the time, was reported missing but whose actions, demeanor, and answers did not present any information which would cause us to believe she would be a threat to herself or others,” Police Chief Max Bosel said in a statment. "The tragedy of the incident at YouTube weighs heavily on our hearts but we support and stand by the actions taken by our officers in their contact with Ms. Aghdam.”
Hours later, Aghdam drove 30 miles to San Bruno to shoot three people at the YouTube campus about 1 p.m., before she ended up killing herself. And later, her father explained to reporters that she felt she hadn't been properly compensated by YouTube for her videos on vegan activism.
At the time, YouTube issued this statement: "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."
Here are the chronological order of events:
- On April 3 around 1:38 a.m., a Mountain View police officer patrolling a parking lot on the 600 block of Showers Drive ran a license plate that matched one provided in a missing person’s report out of the San Diego area. Immediately after the results of his search come in, dispatch radioed him to let him know about the missing person's report. He confirmed he was aware of the report and parked his patrol car wearing his body camera.
- A few seconds later, the officer approached the vehicle and looked in on both the driver’s side and the passenger’s side to see if anyone was inside.
- The officer learned the results of the license plate check come back to report that the car is registered to 38-year-old Nasim Aghdam and that she has been reported missing and “at-risk” out of San Diego County.
- The officer confirmed via his radio that he has found a woman sleeping in the back of the vehicle. A routine records check did not reveal any hits or threats of violence.
- The officer got back into his patrol car and began to question why Aghdam was reported “at risk” in the missing person’s report.
- A short while later, a second officer arrived on scene. The officers again discuss why Aghdam may be at risk, what needs to be addressed at the scene, and any potential next steps. During this discussion, the Mountain View dispatch center made a phone call to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department to further inquire about the “at-risk” status attached to the missing person’s report. The dispatch center reported back to the officers that Aghdam was reported “at risk” when the missing person’s report was filed was because she had no prior reports of having gone missing. And her family said she left home without any notice and just disappeared without her cell phone or any “banking information” with her. “There was no dispute or anything,” the San Diego dispatcher told the Mountain View officer.
- Shortly after learning about the report, the Mountain View officers knocked on Aghdam’s window. After waking her, Mountain View police notified Aghdam that she had been reported missing out of the San Diego area, and they learned from her that she had left her family as she and her family members were not getting along. She told officers she was having “issues” with her family.
- Police then asked Aghdam had attempted to contact her family or if her family had reached out to her. Aghdam said she left her cell phone behind in San Diego County but had bought a new one at some point. She said she was OK with police looking at it, but did not want her family to know her new number.
- Then, police asked Aghdam if she was taking or should be taking any medications. Aghdam responded, “No.” Police asked her if she planned to hurt herself or others, and she said “no” to all these questions.
- She told police she came to Mountain View to start a new life, away from San Diego.
- One officer is heard saying, “What should w do?” It’s determined that because she is an adult and not committing any crime, then all police can do is tell her that they’d be calling her father to let him she was found in Mountain View.
- Shortly after the recording ended, police called Aghdam’s family in San Diego to inform them that she had been found.
- Aghdam’s father, Ismail Aghdam, answered the phone when police called to inform him that his daughter had been located. He confirmed Aghdam’s story that he and his daughter had been having trouble getting along, then asked if Aghdam was planning on returning home. The officer stated that in speaking with Aghdam, it appeared she did not wish to go back to the San Diego area. The father thanked police for the call and hung up.
- Roughly one hour after that, the father called back to let the officer know that his daughter had recently become upset about changes on the YouTube platform that had impacted videos she had created on living a vegan lifestyle. The father suggested that may have been one of the reasons she was in the area. “At no point in either of our conversations did the family bring up any concerns about their daughter’s behavior, any potential violence she may carry out, or any likelihood that she could be a danger to herself or others,” police said in a statement.
Mountain View police said there are no copies of phone calls between police and Ismail Aghdam on the morning of April 3 because the calls were not recorded.