Anthony Solima, a San Francisco-area Tesla employee, was charged with murder after police said he shot and killed a coworker early this week.
Solima, 27, is accused of killing Lee Brasier, 42, at the Tesla factory in Fremont where both men were employees. Authorities believe Solima walked off the job Monday when he got in an argument with Brasier, only to return hours later to fatally shoot the 42-year-old with a “ghost gun.”
Brasier was declared dead at the scene, and Solima was taken into custody later that night without incident, police told KTVU. He was charged with felony murder and illegal possession of an assault weapon and is being held in an Alameda County jail.
Tesla Employee Charged with Murder
Police said they were called to the Fremont Tesla factory in the South Bay just before 3:30 Monday afternoon. First responders found Brasier lying in the parking lot, unresponsive and suffering from at least one gunshot wound.
The 42-year-old succumbed to his injuries before medical personnel could evacuate him.
Investigators determined that Brasier had been shot in the back of the head while getting in his Toyota Tundra, where the keys were still in the door. Several .223 rifle casings were discovered on the ground nearby.
Employees at the plant told detectives that Brasier had just finished his shift. Workers said he had been involved in an argument earlier that day with Anthony Solima, another Tesla employee, and that the spat ended with Solima walking off the job and claiming he had quit. Some reported seeing him “angrily loading a tool box” in his car before leaving the plant that morning, Mercury News wrote.
Within hours, police tracked down the 27-year-old suspect, placing him under surveillance as the investigation continued, according to one local outlet. Authorities obtained an arrest warrant that night and took Solima into custody on suspicion of murder when he was getting out of his car.
In the vehicle, officers said they recovered a .223 caliber, short barreled rifle without a serial number.
Tesla, Inc., an electric vehicle manufacturer, does not appear to have commented on the shooting.
Anthony Solima Could Face Life in Prison
On Thursday, prosecutors officially charged Solima with Brasier’s murder. Investigators said they believed the 27-year-old planned and executed a deadly ambush on his coworker.
“Solima appeared to conceal his purpose from Lee (he ‘quit,’ left the factory and returned at a time he believed persons to be getting off work),” wrote Fremont Police Detective Michael Gebhardt in a court filing.
“[He] waited for an opportunity to act and made a surprise attack on Lee from a position of advantage (Lee was shot in the back of the head; his keys still hanging from the vehicle door) which resulted in Lee’s death,” Gebhardt added. Police have not determined an exact motive, though they believe Solima and Brasier’s argument that morning was a factor.
Solima was charged with illegal possession of an assault weapon, and felony murder with the special circumstance of “lying in wait.” He was arraigned in an Alameda County court on Thursday, where a judge denied him bail, KTVU reported.
Family Grieves Tragic Loss
Lee Brasier, who leaves behind a 7-year-old daughter, was mourned by loved ones this week.
“He was a good, loving father. He loved his daughter more than anything in the world,” his brother Jim Brasier told local reporters.
Elizabeth, Jim’s wife, remembered her brother-in-law as “very loyal.”
“He would give you the shirt off his back,” she said. “If we called him, no matter what time of day or night, he would come and be there.”
“He was just a good person, like a good-hearted person. He wore his heart on his sleeve,” Jim added. “He shouldn’t have died this way.”