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Workplace Shootings Like Today's at YouTube Are Becoming More Common

At least four people are injured and one is dead after today's shooting, and government statistics show that workplace shootings are on the rise.
YouTube headquarters in San Bruno, California, on May, 26th, 2010.

YouTube headquarters in San Bruno, California, on May, 26th, 2010.

A woman opened fire at YouTube's headquarters in San Bruno, California, on Tuesday afternoon, injuring at least four people before apparently turning the gun on herself, the New York Times reports.

Reports of gun shots and a possible shooter reached San Mateo County dispatchers shortly before 1 p.m., around the time YouTube employee Vadim Lavrusik tweeted that an "active shooter" was on the premises, and that he had barricaded himself in a room with co-workers.

Once armed police swarmed the company's headquarters, employees were evacuated to a nearby parking lot. Authorities have yet to release any more information about the alleged shooter or her motivations.

In recent years, government statistics show that fatal workplace shootings like today's are becoming more frequent. Workplace homicides in general have been climbing for at least five years, from 404 in 2013 to 500 in 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Workplace suicides reached 291 in 2016—the highest number since the agency began keeping track in 1992.

Between 2011 and 2016, the period for which BLS data is available, shootings accounted for the majority of workplace homicides, and the number of shooting deaths has climbed every year since 2014. In 2016, shootings accounted for 394—or nearly 80 percent—of the 500 workplace homicides that year. While shootings have become an all-too-common occurrence in America, female shooters remain relatively rare: A 2014 study from the Federal Bureau of Investigation found that, of all "active shooter" incidents between 2000 and 2013 in the United States, fewer than 4 percent were carried out by women.

While workplace shootings appear to be on the rise, today's incident occurs at a particularly charged time for the debate over gun laws in the U.S. "My stomach sinks with yet another active shooter alert," California Senator Diane Feinstein (D–California) tweeted Tuesday afternoon.

Sparked by the high school shooting that left 17 dead in Parkland, Florida, gun control advocates have been pushing hard for lawmakers to pass tighter regulations, and for corporations to get involved as well—by dropping discounts for National Rifle Association members, or by pulling advertisements from gun rights proponents. On March 24th, some 1.2 million people joined the March for Our Lives rallies across the country—making it one of the largest youth-led protests since the Vietnam War.

Bloomberg Technology reported last month that YouTube itself quietly introduced new limits in March on videos promoting the sale of firearms and accessories, and also banned videos that offered firearm assembly instructions.