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Tesla's Phantom Shooter: The Strange Story of a Debunked Threat

  • Police find no evidence ex-employee Martin Tripp posed threat
  • Musk portrayed him as saboteur before they traded lawsuits

The tip, police say, came in to a Tesla Inc. call center in Las Vegas. A distraught former employee had a gun -- and seemed ready to use it. The ex-worker’s name, the caller said, was Martin Tripp.

That June 20 warning set off a frantic search for Tripp, who had recently lost his job at Tesla’s sprawling factory near Reno, Nevada, where the company makes batteries for its electric cars.