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Police in Southern California said Tuesday they were seeking additional information about an incident last week that Twitter CEO Elon Musk said prompted him to crack down on accounts that track whereabouts of private jets — including his.
The Dec. 13 incident in a Los Angeles-area highway has become a flashpoint for a debate about online speech and the dissemination of personal information, although authorities had previously said little about what happened.
In a statement Tuesday, police in South Pasadena said that the incident involved a member of Musk’s security team, whose vehicle hit the car of a man he alleged was following him.
The police called the security team member a “suspect.” They did not say what crimes they suspected him of committing, but said they were investigating a report of “an assault with a deadly weapon involving a vehicle.”
Musk’s description of the incident was different. Last week, in justifying his decision to ban the Twitter account @ElonJet, which publishes the location of his private airplane, Musk said that a “stalker” had used location information from the account to follow and confront a car carrying one of his children.
The statement from South Pasadena police, though, contained no mention of a suspected stalker.
“At no time during the incident did the victim identify the suspect or indicate the altercation was anything more than coincidental,” police said.
Business Insider reporter Linette Lopez, who has covered Musk and Tesla for years, and ElonJet creator Jack Sweeney are among those still banned from Twitter.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the police statement.
In their statement, police said a 29-year-old man from Connecticut had pulled off a highway shortly before 10 p.m. to use his cellphone in a gas station. While parked, the man said another vehicle pulled directly in front of him, blocking his path, according to police.
The driver of the second vehicle, described by police as Musk’s security team member, then accused the Connecticut man of following him, police said. Each party captured video during the dispute, they said.
Police said that as Musk’s security team member was leaving the parking lot, he struck the Connecticut man with his vehicle.
“When the officer arrived on scene, the suspect had already left the area,” the statement said.
Detectives do not believe Musk was present during the confrontation, according to the statement.
The Washington Post reported a person who identified himself as the driver featured in the video of the confrontation that Musk shared online said he has an interest in Musk and the mother of two of children, Claire Boucher, who is better known as the musician Grimes. NBC News has not verified those statements or who was in the video.
Boucher has been the target of stalking before, and lives within the vicinity of the location of the reported confrontation.
David Ingram covers tech for NBC News.
Andrew Blankstein is an investigative reporter for NBC News. He covers the Western U.S., specializing in crime, courts and homeland security.
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