By Robert Salonga, Julia Prudis Sulek and Seung Lee
The Mercury News
SAN BRUNO, Calif. – A woman shot and killed herself after wounding her boyfriend and two other people with a handgun at YouTube headquarters Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.
A law enforcement source said the shooting appeared to have been fueled by a domestic dispute and that the suspect was targeting her boyfriend.
The source said the woman, who was not immediately identified, has no criminal history in San Mateo County.
San Bruno Police Chief Ed Barberini said the suspected shooter was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Barberini said he could not confirm that the shooting involved a domestic dispute.
Barberini said police were called at 12:46 p.m. to YouTube’s campus after reports of gunfire, and three officers who arrived at the scene within two minutes were met by a multitude of fleeing employees.
“It was very chaotic, as you can imagine,” Barberini said.
The gunfire took place in an open courtyard, he said.
Employees were eating lunch when the “horrific act of violence” occurred, said Sundar Pichai, CEO of YouTube’s parent company Google, in a note to employees that Google posted on Twitter.
Barberini said officers soon found a victim with a gunshot wound near the entrance. YouTube employees stood watch over that person, freeing the police to go further into the scene, he said. Police came upon the suspected shooter in an outdoor patio, dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Officers eventually found two other shooting victims, and Barberini affirmed that there was no longer any active threat.
Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital acknowledged receiving patients from YouTube, but the range of their injuries was not fully disclosed. Hospital spokesman Brent Andrew said the facility received a 32-year-old woman in serious condition, a 27-year-old woman in fair condition and a 36-year-old man in critical condition.
Trauma surgeon Dr. Andre Campbell declined to detail the victims’ wounds, but said none had undergone surgery as of Tuesday afternoon. He added that the male victim’s critical status stemmed from blood loss.
Campbell said all of the patients were awake, and “shocked like we are.”
Joe Fragola, a spokesman for Kaiser South San Francisco hospital, said that facility has received a female victim, but that she was not shot, and suffered a possible sprained ankle.
Michael Finney, a 21-year-old supervisor at Carl’s Jr. across the street, was in the bathroom during the shooting and didn’t hear anything until he came out and saw a woman in the booth near the front door bleeding from the calf with two friends trying to stem the bleeding.
He rushed over to help.
“I saw the lady was shot in the calf,” he said. “Her friends were trying to put pressure on the wound.”
At first they used the victim’s sweatshirt, twisted it tightly and tied it above her calf but it wasn’t helping.
“Everyone was figuring out what to do,” said Finney. “I was trying to stay calm and see what I could do. Everybody is shocked.”
Finney then ran into the office and rummaged through the desk and cupboards. He first came out with rubber bands that are used for rolling money.
“I tried rubber bands at first and of course it didn’t work,” he said.
He raced back to the office and found a bungee cord, and they wrapped it tightly above the victim’s calf until paramedics arrived.
Erick Zaragoza, a 22-year-old student from nearby Skyline College, had pulled into a restaurant parking lot half a block from YouTube headquarters when he heard the shooting.
“It had to be at least 15 gunshots,” he said. “I’m seeing people running and thinking, what’s going on?”
Zaragoza said one of the chefs from the restaurant approached him and said there was a woman with a gun firing at people on YouTube’s patio.
After that, Zaragoza went to a nearby Carl’s Jr. closer to the shooting scene, where he saw a female gunshot victim being treated in an ambulance.
“They had one lady in the ambulance. Her leg was bandaged up but she otherwise looked fine,” he said. “It was pretty crazy, honestly. I’m thinking what the hell?”
Asked about the chef who witnessed the shooter firing at people, Zaragoza said, “He looked out of breath. He said he was fine but there was a lady shooting.”
Police Chief Barberini said investigators were conducting a room-by-room, floor-by-floor search of the building, and would work through the night. The coroner was on site, he said. He did not expect to provide any updates until Wednesday, he said.
San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa lauded the police and citizen response to the shooting, and voiced confidence that the community will bounce back from the violence.
“I commend the YouTube employees who maintained their composure during this tragic event and the incredible response by law enforcement officers who quickly secured the campus,” Canepa said in a statement. “This is a resilient community that will recover with each other’s support. I assure the survivors that they will not be alone in their recoveries."
One YouTube employee tweeted from inside the headquarters saying he was barricaded inside a room until his room was evacuated.
“Heard shots and saw people running while at my desk. Now barricaded inside a room with coworkers,” tweeted the employee, Vadim Lavrusik.
YouTube purchased the San Bruno office park for $215 million in January 2016. YouTube’s headquarters, which is nestled between the Interstate 380 and Bayhill Shopping Center, can host 2,500 to 2,800 workers.