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2 min Read
Published April 3, 2018

Active Shooter at YouTube: Internal Snaps, Tweets, and WhatsApp from Employees

During an active shooter situation at YouTube offices in San Bruno, employees locked down in closets and barricaded in rooms use social media to reach out to each other and check in on their fellow colleagues.

Ethar El-Katatney shared private WhatsApp messages she received from friends who work at YouTube.

The messages are horrifying.

“We all ran.”

“I have no idea what to do.”

“I have no idea how I survived.”

The messenger even describes seeing the police, calmly entering the courtyard to do their job.

“Police are there. I was in the courtyard. Looked right at him [the police]. He had a green sunglasses thing for shooting on. Full body-armor. Was calm walking and firing.”

Vadim Lavrusik tweeted from inside YouTube’s offices, barricaded in a room.


Lavrusik apparently posted this tweet while still locked in a room, fearing for his life. Some responders sent him well-wishes and prayers, and desperate messages to see if he was safe yet. Other responders, however, turned the life-and-death tweet into a political debate about gun control–stating that Lavrusik would not need to hide if he carried his own gun–before the employee was even safely outside.

Employee Todd Sherman took to Twitter to describe the scene, bravely recounting the images in a play-by-play.

Social media connects us during nearly every moment of our lives. It allows us to get a glimpse into each other’s daily activities. But when daily activities suddenly turn catastrophic, social media provides another critical role: It allows the average person to see a first-person perspective on terror and tragedy. Hopefully, it provides empathy.

Unfortunately, some followers saw the live tweets of these active shooting victims and survivors as the perfect opportunity to show their love for guns. One Twitter user, known as @TrampAgainLives, or PatriotNow, felt the need to actively slander Vadim while he was still in hiding from a very active shooter, pointing out that if he carried a gun, he wouldn’t need to hide.


The barrel is still hot and already it’s becoming political. Shootings have become a huge topic of debate. It’s horrifying to see one happening again — and to see the tweets, texts, and messages from the people barricaded inside and praying for safety.

Let’s send more than thoughts and prayers, this time.

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  • heather


  • I sincerely believe that through the power of storytelling, I can make social issues become more than a set of statistics. My expertise is in community leadership, non-profit work, event coordinating, networking, and storytelling. All my articles.

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