Gannett photographers charged w/felony assault w/deadly weapon on Tesla Gigafactory employees

drone giga oct 2015Last Friday, two journalists from Gannett’s Reno Gazette Journal (RGJ)  were  in an altercation with two Tesla safety managers on Tesla’s property at the Gigafactory near Reno. One of the individuals, RGJ photographer Andy Barron was arrested and charged for battery with a deadly weapon by the Storey County Sheriff’s department. According to Tesla, two RGJ employees climbed over a fence at the Gigafactory and after being confronted by safety managers, they hit a Tesla employee with their Jeep while attempting to leave the site.

The company published a blog post about the incident this morning:

“a Tesla safety manager received a complaint about two trespassers taking pictures at the Gigafactory. The Tesla employee requested assistance and the Storey County Sheriff’s department was alerted. After locating the two trespassers, the Tesla employee approached them. He asked their names and notified them that they were trespassing on Tesla property. They refused to provide their names, despite the Reno Gazette Journal (“RGJ”) ID credentials hanging from their pockets. They also denied that they were trespassing even though they had climbed through a fence designated with “private property” signs. “

The vehicle driven by the two trespassers was marked with RGJ decals and the individuals were later identified as RGJ employees. Reno Gazette Journal is known for extensively covering Tesla’s battery factory under-construction near Reno. We recently reported on the publication’s article going through Tesla permit applications for construction work at the factory.

The two RGJ employees were asked by two Tesla security managers to wait for the Sheriff’s Department before leaving and that’s when things turned for the worst according to the company:

“Disregarding this request, the RGJ employees entered the Jeep. As the Tesla employee attempted to record the license plate number on the rear bumper, the driver put it in reverse and accelerated into the Tesla employee, knocking him over, causing him to sustain a blow to the left hip, an approximate 2” bleeding laceration to his right forearm, a 3” bleeding laceration to his upper arm, and scrapes on both palms. s the RGJ employees fled the scene, their Jeep struck the ATV that carried the two safety managers. When one of the safety managers dismounted the ATV and approached the Jeep, the driver of the Jeep accelerated into him, striking him in the waist.”

The Sheriff’s Department later arrested one of the individuals, Andy Barron, for “two counts of felony assault with a deadly weapon” and they will both be charged with trespassing, again according to Tesla’s blog post.

The RGJ confirmed that Barron was involved in the altercation and that the newspaper’s vehicle was damaged in the altercation.

“A rock had been used to shatter the driver’s-side window and the driver’s-side seat belt had been cut in half.”

The Sheriff’s Department couldn’t confirm how the damage occurred.

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  1. BEP - 7 years ago

    Well, that escalated quickly. I’m really curious to see the outcome of the investigations.

    • Seth Weintraub - 7 years ago

      Sure did. I imagine what happened is that the photographers tried to get away and the security guards got in front of the vehicle. The photographers just went through them. Just a guess


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