Some YouTube Employees Still Sheltering In Place After Active Shooter Confirmed At HQ

Apr 3, 2018
Originally published on April 3, 2018 9:19 pm
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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

All right. And let's go now to one of the many people who, along with us, is trying to figure out what exactly is happening there at YouTube headquarters this afternoon. Rachel Morgan - her husband, Lee, is a software developer at YouTube. She has been in contact with him since reports of the shooting. He is still sheltering in place near the YouTube building. His phone is running out of power, so we can't reach him. So we've asked Rachel to come on the line with us now. Hey there, Rachel.

RACHEL MORGAN: Hi.

KELLY: Hi. Can I start with the most important question - I know for you - is your husband safe? Is he OK?

MORGAN: Yes, he's physically fine, yes.

KELLY: Where is he now?

MORGAN: He is - he works in 901 Cherry where the shooting was. He ended up evacuated across the street and across the parking lot of another YouTube building that's just - so he's basically at 1,000 Cherry Avenue. And he's hiding behind a tree.

KELLY: And when did you first hear from him? I mean, how did you hear that this was all happening?

MORGAN: My phone rang about 1:30, and it was Lee. And it was weird because we don't talk on the phone. He called me, and he's like, I'm OK. I just want you to know I'm OK before you hear any news. And I'm like, OK. What's going on? He goes there's an active shooter at my work. And he was really upset, but he's like, I'm OK. And he was just trying to get as far away from the building as he could, but the security - Google security and the police were kind of telling them where they could go. So he's still there. They haven't released any of the evacuees yet.

KELLY: Was he able to share any details about what actually happened? Did he actually hear gunshots or was he just hearing people saying you need to evacuate?

MORGAN: No, he didn't hear gunshots. He was listening to headphones, but all of a sudden, all of his co-workers, the people around him, started running. And he - you know, he was in the Navy, so he's like something's going on, and he started running, and that's when he was told that there were gunshots. Lee's a veteran with some hearing damage, so he didn't hear the gunshots personally. But his co-workers were telling him, you know, we need to get out of here. There are gunshots.

KELLY: Was he able to tell you how many people he's sheltering with, what the situation is like that he's now in?

MORGAN: There are - he said there's a large group of people sheltering in on the far side of one of the parking lots from 901 Cherry directly across the street. And they've got Google security there and a lot of armed police and I think Homeland Security. They're there with the evacuees, keeping them safe.

KELLY: Yeah. Have you visited that building on the YouTube campus, 901 Cherry? Can you give us - paint us a little bit of a picture of just what it looks like where this event has unfolded?

MORGAN: Yes, I've been there. It's a pretty straightforward office building. I think it's three stories, and it's pretty closed off. Like, you have to have badges to get through all but the front door. And they have some - they have a giant slide. It's really cool, but visitors can't go down it (laughter). And it's a very - it looks like a very fun office. It seems like a place that people would want to be, so it's really weird to think of it as an active shooting scene. But it - the YouTube campus, it's very green and lush and fun, and there are foosball tables. And...

KELLY: Yeah, that...

MORGAN: It's hard to picture it like this now.

KELLY: I can imagine it must be. And I gather that YouTube had, in the aftermath of the shooting in Parkland, Fla., that YouTube had talked about banning videos that gave instructions on how to make firearms or ammunition I guess your husband was just telling you about all this.

MORGAN: Yes. As soon - like the end of the initial phone call, we were both of the opinion this is probably blowback from the people upset about some of the gun videos being banned, which, you know, my husband said, what - and these people talk about, you know, personal freedoms, but Google's a privately held entity that, you know, can't decide what kind of content they're going to host now?

KELLY: Yeah.

MORGAN: They're not allowed to make rules about what they're willing to host. So it's - and - I mean, we don't know anything about the shooter yet, but that's certainly what we thought was going on from the beginning.

KELLY: Yeah.

MORGAN: So it's scary.

KELLY: Well, Rachel Morgan, thank you for speaking with us on what I know must be a very scary day. And I'm so glad your husband's safe.

MORGAN: Thank you, and thank you so much for talking to me. I love your show, so thank you.

KELLY: We're glad to have you on it. I'm sorry it's under these circumstances.

MORGAN: OK.

KELLY: That's Rachel Morgan. Her husband, Lee, works at YouTube. He ran out of the building with colleagues. He is safe. He and his colleagues are still being kept in place by police. And we should mention San Bruno police have just briefed. They say four people with gunshot wounds have been found at the YouTube office. One of them is dead with a self-inflicted wound. This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.