A 28-year-old man from Florida was arrested in Austin on the eve of Tesla’s Cybertruck delivery event for allegedly plotting to “shoot up Elon Musk and the plant,” as detailed in the arrest affidavit.
The Senior Manager of Security Operations at Tesla raised concerns after discovering threatening messages sent via Instagram on November 9. The messages included disturbing statements such as
“I sure am crazy though,” “I plan on killing people at that event on November 30th,” and a plea for intervention, stating, “I wanna die” and “I need to be stopped.”
Following the filing of a Suspicious Activity report, the Travis County Sheriff’s Office initiated an investigation two days before the scheduled event. The suspect was identified as Paul Ryan Overeem, traced to Austin through his cell phone.
Overeem, reportedly under the delusion that Elon Musk and Neuralink director Shivon Zilis were surveilling him, was found by SWAT officers in a McDonald’s parking lot off Bee Cave Road. He disclosed the presence of weapons in his car and expressed intentions of committing suicide before arrest.
In custody, Overeem admitted to making multiple threats against Elon Musk and Shivon Zilis, attributing his actions to a belief that the two were monitoring him through surveillance systems. He was charged with Terroristic Threat, a third-degree felony, and is currently held at the Travis County Jail with a $300,000 bond.
This incident unfolded against the backdrop of a contentious period for Musk, who was engaged in a political battle with corporate advertisers boycotting his social media platform X. The boycott was based on allegations of promoting “antisemitism,” to which Musk responded emphatically, stating,
“If someone’s going to try and blackmail me with advertising? Blackmail me with money? Go fuck yourself. Go. Fuck. Yourself. Is that clear? I hope it is.”
Now, the revelation emerges that an individual with apparent mental instability and paranoid delusions was planning harm against Musk.