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Tesla employee arrested on suspicion of killing co-worker at Northern California plant

Cars in a parking lot outside a large Tesla factory building
The Tesla plant in Fremont, Calif., where a man was found fatally shot in a parking lot Monday. Detectives said the suspect had walked off the job after arguing with the victim earlier in the day.
(Ben Margot / Associated Press)
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A Tesla employee in Northern California is dead and another has been arrested after a fatal shooting outside the company’s Fremont factory on Monday afternoon.

Detectives arrested Anthony Solima, 29, of Milpitas on a homicide warrant Monday night, according to the Fremont Police Department.

Jail records show Solima is being held on suspicion of murder and is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday afternoon.

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Tesla representatives did not respond to emails from The Times seeking comment on Monday or Tuesday.

Until now, the DMV has taken a hands-off approach to Tesla’s development of self-driving cars. State legislators say it’s time for the agency to be more transparent.

The incident began with a call for medical aid, police said.

Firefighters responded at 3:26 p.m. to a parking lot at Tesla’s factory in the 45000 block of Fremont Boulevard, police said. Upon arrival, they found a man who was unresponsive and had suffered a visible injury.

Firefighters called for police, and officers determined the victim suffered at least one gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead by medical personnel shortly after.

Officers began their investigation, recovering several spent .223-caliber rifle casings, police said.

Homicide detectives said the victim had finished his shift at the factory and walked out to the parking lot where he was shot.

“Within several hours, detectives developed leads on a potential suspect who also worked with the victim,” police said. “Detectives learned that the victim and suspect had been arguing earlier in the day and that the suspect had suddenly walked off the job.”

Detectives found Solima in Milpitas and surveilled him while other detectives worked to solidify the case, police said. The surveillance team continued to monitor Solima “until an opportunity presented itself to arrest [him] when he exited his vehicle.”

Solima surrendered immediately, police said. Investigators found a loaded, non-serialized, .223-caliber, short-barrel rifle in his car along with a shell casing.

Police confirmed to The Times that the gun was a “ghost gun.” These firearms are typically made from 3-D-printed polymer parts. The guns can be assembled at home using kits and are often relatively inexpensive.

The proliferation of so-called ghost guns, which are untraceable and able to be assembled at home, has contributed to more than 100 violent crimes so far this year, the LAPD said.

Because they are not made by licensed manufacturers, they lack serial numbers, making them impossible to track. This year, the Los Angeles Police Department declared ghost guns an epidemic.

Fremont police are continuing their investigation into Monday’s shooting. The victim hasn’t yet been publicly identified.

Anyone with information about the case, or who recognizes Solima from the day of the shooting, is asked to call Fremont police at (510) 790-6900 or email Det. Michael Gebhardt at mgebhardt@fremont.gov.

Anonymous tips can be submitted by texting “Tip FremontPD,” followed by a short message, to 888777.


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