Man arrested for threatening mass shooting at Elon Musk event in Texas

A Tesla Cybertruck on display in California, December 2023 (Allison Dinner/EPA)
A Tesla Cybertruck on display in California, December 2023 (Allison Dinner/EPA)

A man from Florida has been charged with making terrorist threats after vowing to create a "mass casualty event" at a Tesla launch attended by Elon Musk.

Paul Ryan Overeem, 28, was arrested in Texas on 29 November while travelling to the electric car maker's "gigafactory" in Austin, where Mr Musk was due to unveil his new Cybertruck the next day.

Prosecutors say that Mr Overeem was stopped while driving from Florida to reach the event after threatening in an Instagram group chat to commit a massacre there.

A spokesperson for the Travis County Sheriff's Office confirmed to The Independent that Mr Overeem was still in custody as of Monday afternoon, with a bail of $300,000.

If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. Mr Musk's event concluded without incident.

According to The Austin American-Statesman, which obtained a copy of the arrest affidavit, Tesla had been notified on 10 November about a man making violent threats on Instagram one day earlier.

Mr Overeem allegedly said that he "plan[ned] on killing people", adding: "I would like you to do something about it so that I don't have to. I don't wanna die."

Investigator then obtained Mr Overeem's identity from Instagram's parent company, Meta, and stopped his car while travelling through Austin on Wednesday morning.

The affidavit reportedly did not say that Mr Overeem targeted Mr Musk specifically.