‘Get out, get out! This is not a drill!’: Witnesses to the YouTube shooting describe moments of panic

A shooting at the YouTube headquarters sparked panic in San Bruno, California, on Tuesday. Melia Robinson/Business Insider
  • Witnesses and bystanders described the frightening moments when a shooter opened fire inside the YouTube headquarters.
  • A cook at YouTube’s cafeteria escaped through the service elevator after a colleague shouted, “Get out, get out! This is not a drill!”
  • The owner of a restaurant across the street waved three YouTube employees inside after hearing 15 to 17 rapid fire shots. One of the people had a bullet lodged in the bottom of her shoe, the restaurant owner told Business Insider.

Dennis, the owner of Hashes & Brews, was having a cigarette break outside around 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday when he heard loud banging noises that he thought was a nail gun from someone doing construction.

But the numerous successive bangs – 15 or 17 by his count – sounded too rapid to be a nail gun.

He looked across the street and saw “a whole bunch of people just trampling over each other, coming out the front doors of YouTube. They were running, people just running.”

Dennis, who declined to give his last name, waved a group of three of them into the restaurant.

One man was bleeding from the face, Dennis told Business insider. But the wound was not severe – as if a bullet had perhaps grazed him, Dennis said. He brought over towels and a first aid kit, and directed the man to the bathroom to wash up. Another woman had a bullet lodged into the sole of her leather shoe.

YouTube shooting

“They were shaking, they were making me shake. This is a situation where you see in the movies, not in real life,” Dennis said, as he described a shooting at YouTube’s San Bruno, California, headquarters on Tuesday that left one person dead and at least four wounded.

Police said a female was found inside the YouTube building with what they believed to be self-inflicted wounds, though the complete details of the event, including the identity of the shooter and any motive, remain unclear.

But employees and bystanders who fled the scene on Tuesday described the chaotic events to Business Insider reporters.

“Get out, get out! This is not a drill!”

A cook at YouTube’s in-house cafeteria, who gave his name only as Paul, described how an ordinary day on the job quickly turned into terror.

“We’re prepping for lunch, and then all of a sudden I see a coworker bolt inside. He’s slipping on the floor, he’s like, ‘Get out, get out! This is not a drill.'”

“We dropped everything and got into the service elevator. Thank God we had that. Went down the elevator. My instincts said let me get out and get my car at least.”

YouTube shooting
YouTube employees and on-lookers in San Bruno have been evacuated from the campus. Melia Robinson/Business Insider

One person with a gunshot wound in the leg sought refuge at a Carl’s Jr. restaurant across the street from the YouTube building. Mike Finney, one of the Carl’s Jr. employees, tried to help staunch her bleeding, a spokesperson for the Carl’s Jr. parent company confirmed to Business Insider.

Later in the afternoon, Paul, the YouTube cook, was sitting outside that same Carl’s Jr. restaurant trying to make sense of his experience. All of his personal belongings were still inside the YouTube building, he said, and it was unclear when he would be able to retrieve them.

YouTube Shooting
YouTube employees fleeing the scene of the shooting entered a Carl’s Jr. restaurant located across the street from the campus. Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Although he never saw the shooter, the chaotic escape out of the kitchen and through the loading area in the garage was imprinted in his memory.

“There were still people loading things who were clueless, who didn’t know what’s going on. They didn’t see anything. They don’t even know why I’m running out,” he said.

His experience also raises questions about the security that YouTube had in place at the building, something which may become important as investigators review how the event happened.

“You got to badge in and out of every single room,” he said, adding that during his orientation at YouTube: “They made it such a big deal about how the security is so intense here.”

“And I’m like, why is the garage open during broad daylight,” he said.

More on the YouTube shooting: