Police release body cam footage of YouTube shooter

Police chief says officers acted appropriately during the encounter

The Mountain View Police Department released body camera footage on Friday morning showing officers' interaction with suspected YouTube shooter Nasim Aghdam roughly 10 hours before she opened fire at YouTube's headquarters in San Bruno earlier this month, wounding three people.

Officers located Aghdam, a 38-year-old Southern California woman, and spoke to her around 1:40 a.m. on April 3 in a San Antonio Shopping Center parking lot, and left after concluding she was not a threat to herself or others. Witnesses said she opened fire with a handgun at the YouTube campus around noon the same day, injuring three people before shooting and killing herself.

Mountain View police maintain that the department's response was appropriate, given that she showed no threats of violence and came up negative on several firearm background checks.

"Based on our officers' interaction with Aghdam, including the fact that she had answered all of our questions cooperatively and thoroughly, there was no legal reason for us to remain on scene questioning her," police said in a statement.

Police released body cam footage from two officers who spoke to Aghdam, along with audio from police dispatch, totaling about 14 minutes of footage that included a conversation between officers and Aghdam.

The footage shows that police were checking license plates in the parking lot, and found that Aghdam's license plate was registered to someone reporting missing out of San Diego County late last month and "at risk." One of the officers explained to Aghdam that this is a routine practice to identify stolen vehicles occasionally found in the parking lot late at night. The officers can be seen approaching Aghdam's vehicle and knocking on the window, waking her up.

During the conversation, Aghdam told officers that she came to Mountain View about two days ago from San Diego, and that she had left because of an unspecified conflict with family members. She said she had no intent of going back and wanted to start a new life in the Bay Area, saying she had left her cellphone at home and did not want to be contacted by her family.

A police dispatcher confirmed, shortly before the interaction, that Aghdam was considered at risk only because it was unusual for her to disappear.

In a statement accompanying the body cam footage, Mountain View police officials said officers made the correct call to drop the interaction, and that continuing to "unnecessarily question or delay" a person could amount to unwarranted detention.

While it's not shown in the video, the police department said it conducted a thorough background check on Aghdam, including use of the "Armed and Prohibited Persons System" to track handgun purchases and "registered assault weapons" against a database of people who are prohibited from owning firearms, police said.

"We have confirmed all systems checks (a total of seven) regarding Aghdam came back negative," meaning she was not barred from owning a weapon, according to the statement.

Also not included in the video is a subsequent call by Mountain View police to Aghdam's father, Ismail Aghdam, who confirmed that his daughter had not been getting along with the family, thanked police for the update on where she was and hung up. Aghdam called police back an hour later to say that Nasim was "upset" about recent actions YouTube took that affected the vegan-related videos she produced, which might be one of the reasons she was in the area. The call however, was not enough to indicate she planned to carry out a violent attack later that day, police said.

"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.

Police Chief Max Bosel, in a statement, said the department's internal review found both officers correctly followed police procedures and protocol, and that the welfare check on Nasim Aghdam showed no signs she might be a threat to herself and others.

"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," Bosel said.

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12 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 13, 2018 at 1:44 pm

They say they conducted firearms background checks that came back negative. Other news reports say that she had used a legally purchased gun in the attack. If the weapon is legal and purchased in California, why was the firearms check negative?

32 people like this
Posted by Check
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Apr 13, 2018 at 2:26 pm

I believe they checked to see if she was prohibited from having a weapon not the systems that’s says she owned a weapon.

55 people like this
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Apr 13, 2018 at 7:38 pm

Check (resident of Rengstorff Park) is correct.

Firearm ownership is not prohibited by law except to certain individuals (e.g., convicted felons).

When the subject was interviewed by the Mountain View Police Department she was still a law abiding citizen and exhibited no behavior that indicated that she was a threat to herself or others. She passed all the tests that cops can give in these situations without risk of treading into the sticky territory of unlawful detention, racial profiling, etc.

The police cannot protect the public from every unforeseen possibility.

The perpetrator was a sad, misguided soul. There are many on this planet and most of them don't end up doing this type of action. Impossible to know which ones will do this and which ones won't. We can't read minds.

Anyhow, my condolences to victims of the YouTube tragedy, their families, colleagues and other loved ones.

14 people like this
Posted by Cat in the Hat
a resident of The Crossings
on Apr 14, 2018 at 7:56 am

Interesting the MVPD was cruising a private property parking lot doing license checks. With all the problems we have at the Crossings, which is private property, we have been begging them to do the same but the excuse we always get from Bosel is that it would be better handled by the HOA board because MVPD doesn't enforce parking laws on private property. Yeah right. And the lady comes out shooting.

The questions then raised are, 1) did some one actually make a complaint or was MVPD actively patrolling the private property held by a mega corporation in spite of what Bosel has claimed in the past MVPD doesn't do?; 2) why is MVPD doing license checks in a private property parking lot but not doing anything about RV dwellers on public streets?; 3) Why does Bosel even bother to continue with his dance regarding what MVPD does or doesn't do when its clear they do what the hec they like and then twist a story after the fact.

Let's face it. MVPD can harass you whenever they want for whatever they want and it seldom has anything to do with public safety. This woman should not have been allowed to camp out in her car on private property once MVPD came upon her. They should have gotten her to leave. If that had prompted an altercation at least is would have been closer to a fairer fight.

16 people like this
Posted by Common sense
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 14, 2018 at 12:30 pm

Um, the vast open parking lots of shopping centers like San Antonio -- generally deserted late at night, so that an unusual parked vehicle stands out -- are in no way comparable to a dense residential complex like The Crossings. Regardless of what "Cat in the Hat" (way after the fact and with little apparent grasp of police procedures or constraints) now asserts that MVPD "should have" done, it's clear that MVPD followed standard, cautious, respectful protocol, and found no basis to interfere further at the time. That is abundantly clear from the recordings and transcripts MVPD has released, and it was further explained in earlier comments above by "Reader."

Case closed.

10 people like this
Posted by Cat in the Hat
a resident of The Crossings
on Apr 14, 2018 at 1:26 pm

@Common Sense

Their is no point for MVPD to be patrolling open private property parking lots at night as long as there is no enforcement of public streets upon which people park cars and RVs and sleep in them. Do they patrol all private parking lots at night?

MVPD should not be interfering, as you say, unless they are called. Private property is private property. That has been their excuse for years when dealing with the Crossings. They stay away unless called and refuse to do enforcement actions.

You also fail to explain why MVPD is checking license plates on private parking lots. Why aren't they doing it on public streets and enforcing 72 hour parking limits of RVs? The record has already shown the illegal activity stemming from RVs parked on public streets.

The problem with Bosel and his troopers is they are constantly shifting their "standard, cautious, respectful protocol" to explain away problems more than anything else.

Case still open.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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