With multiple drone flybys and an excited local community, it's easy to see why reporters are interested in learning all they can about the Tesla Gigafactory. Of course, when you trespass onto the construction grounds and then hit a Tesla employee with your car as you attempt to leave, that's a little less understandable. But that's exactly what the automaker is accusing two employees of the Reno Gazette-Journal of doing last week.

In a tersely worded blog post (also available below), Tesla claims that two unnamed RGJ employees were caught on Gigafactory property by Tesla workers. When a Tesla safety manager tried to figure out what was going on (after calling the police), the RGJ employees hopped into their Jeep and 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 two-inch bleeding laceration to his right forearm, a three-inch bleeding laceration to his upper arm, and scrapes on both palms." What the heck, right? When the sheriff arrived, the driver was arrested. Tesla says that it will now, "ensure that those responsible are brought to justice."

Despite repeated attempts, the Reno Gazette-Journal has not responded to our request for comment on this situation. The paper published its own version of the story, naming Andy Barron as the photographer who was arrested but saying that Barron, "either hit or almost hit one or more of the security officers," and saying that it was uncertain how damage to Barron's vehicle occurred.

UPDATE: The Reno Gazette-Journal's Kelly Scott told AutoblogGreen that, "We cannot comment on this issue at this time as there is an ongoing legal investigation."

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Journalists Trespass, Assault Tesla employees at the Gigafactory
October 13, 2015

Last Friday at approximately 11:50 am, 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 belonging to the two trespassers was a Jeep marked with RGJ decals on both doors. The two individuals were later identified as RGJ employees.

The two RGJ employees and the Tesla employee were then met at the Jeep by a second safety manager at the Gigafactory. The two Gigafactory safety managers asked the RGJ employees to wait before departing, as security management and the Sheriff's Department were en route to the scene. 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.

As 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.

Once the Sheriff's Department arrived on the scene, they arrested one of the RGJ employees for two counts of felony assault with a deadly weapon and advised that both will be charged with trespassing.

We appreciate the interest in the Gigafactory, but the repeated acts of trespassing, including by those working for the RGJ, is illegal, dangerous and needs to stop. In particular, we will not stand for assaults on our employees and are working with law enforcement to investigate this incident and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.

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