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Update: Suspect in San Francisco slaying of Cash App founder Bob Lee arrested, identified as Emeryville tech entrepreneur

Fellow tech executive arrested in murder of Bob Lee
Fellow tech executive arrested in murder of Bob Lee 05:52

SAN FRANCISCO -- A tech entrepreneur has been arrested in the slaying of Cash App founder Bob Lee who was found stabbed on a San Francisco street last week, a killing that re-ignited a heated debate over safety within the city.

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott confirmed details regarding the case that had been reported earlier Thursday, saying at an afternoon news conference that homicide detectives identified the suspect in the deadly stabbing that killed Lee as 38-year-old Emeryville resident Nima Momeni. 

UPDATE: Tech exec Nima Momeni formally charged with murder in slaying of Cash App founder Bob Lee

Police additionally confirmed that Lee, the CPO of San Francisco-based cryptocurrency startup MobileCoin, and Momeni knew each other.  

A source close to Lee told KPIX that Lee didn't really know Momeni, but was friends with Momeni's brother. Both Momeni and Lee worked in tech, but the motive for the attack is still unclear.

UPDATE: Worried text from suspect Nima Momeni's sister discovered on slain tech exec Bob Lee's phone

"This morning, members of the San Francisco Police Department's investigations bureau and tactical unit served several search warrants and an arrest warrant in San Francisco and Emeryville," Scott said. "Mr. Momeni was taken into custody without incident in Emeryville and was transported to the San Francisco County Jail and booked on one charge of murder."

Scott noted that the case was still an open and ongoing investigation and that police would not be providing any further details at this point. He also brushed away the debate of safety in San Francisco, telling reporters that Lee's slaying involved the dark side of human nature.

"Facts show and research shows that most people who commit homicides know the people who they kill," Scott said. "The research shows that. So I do understand how people see and view things. I see it, I read it. I live here just like a lot of you all. This has nothing to do with San Francisco. This has to do with human nature."  

ALSO READ: Emeryville neighbors of Bob Lee murder suspect express shock after his arrest

Raw video: Press conference on arrest in Bob Lee homicide 24:41

Scott said the investigation was ongoing, but that Momeni was "our sole focus as a single suspect" in the case.

San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins also took aim at rumors that Lee's death came as a result of a perceived lawlessness in the city.

"While we are not going to release any additional facts at this time, I must point out that reckless and irresponsible statements like those contained in Mr. [Elon] Musk's tweet that assumed incorrect circumstances about Mr. Lee's death, served to mislead the world in their perceptions of San Francisco and also negatively impact the pursuit of justice for victims of crime, as it spreads misinformation at a time when the police are trying to solve a difficult case." 

Musk had tweeted -- "Many people I know have been severely assaulted. Violent crime in SF is horrific and even if attackers are caught, they are often released immediately."

Jenkins confirmed that Momeni would be arraigned Friday afternoon and that she would request he be held with no bail.

Lee's ex-wife Krista Lee was among to first confirm the arrest to KPIX Thursday morning, identifying the suspect as Momeni. Accounts on the LinkedIn and Opportunity networks corresponding to his name list him as an IT consultant/entrepreneur with Emeryville-based Expand IT, which he ran out of his home.

"This is the first step toward justice," Lee said from her home in Miami, where Bob Lee had moved from Mill Valley in the fall.

The arrest was first reported early Thursday by Mission Local; the report said the suspect was a tech industry executive who knew Lee.  

Nima Momeni Opportunity Inc.

At 8:30 a.m., San Francisco Supervisor Matt Dorsey officially confirmed the arrest in posts to Twitter.

"I'm grateful @SFPD's Homicide Detail and all the officers from @SFPDSouthern and elsewhere for their tireless work to bring Bob Lee's killer to justice and for their arrest of a suspect this morning."

"Obviously, nothing can undo this senseless crime, and we reiterate our condolences to Mr. Lee's family members, friends and colleagues. But I hope today's arrest can begin a process of healing and closure for all those touched by this tragedy."

A source told KPIX that evidence has revealed that Lee had arrived in the Rincon neighborhood prior to the stabbing in a BMW driven by Momeni. The two men were recorded earlier on videotape leaving the Millennium Tower luxury apartments together. 

A source said that based on assorted evidence, investigators determined that Mr. Momeni stabbed Mr. Lee, killing him and obtained an arrest warrant.

The San Francisco County jail website showed Momeni had been booked into custody Thursday morning on a murder count.

Jenkins said Momeni would be charged with murder with a sentencing enhancement of using a knife at his arraignment on Friday. She said she would also be asking the judge not to grant Momeni bail.

Officers responded to the 300 block of Main Street in the city's Rincon Hill neighborhood shortly after 2:30 a.m. on April 4th after a report of a stabbing. Officers found the victim who was taken to a hospital and succumbed to his injuries there.

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Hours later friends and MobileCoin confirmed the death of the 43-year-old Lee, who was the Chief Product Officer of San Francisco-based cryptocurrency startup.

Lee had moved to Miami late last year but was in town for the MobileCoin leadership summit last week, and was staying a few nights extra to see friends.

Lee's death ignited a debate about safety in the city, which has been in the headlines because of random street crime and drug use often caught on viral videos. The killing was framed by many - including residents, politicians, media outlets, and other tech heavyweights such as Elon Musk --  as part of San Francisco's purported descent into chaos. 

However, while property crime rates have been high and the city continues to struggle with homelessness and the opioid crisis, the city's violent crime rate is near record lows and lower than other large cities.

"It is very unfortunate that the media chose to create a narrative that, we will hear in the hours ahead, was completely untrue," said San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin following word of the arrest. "Any murder is a tragedy ... San Francisco's murder rate is actually lower now than it was even in 2019 before the pandemic. Violent crime in San Francisco is down. But this killing fed a narrative that San Francisco is out of control. It is not true. And frankly, it was shameful in my mind that the media paid an outsized amount of attention to the killing of a well-to-do Caucasian man as compared to killings that happen, you know, in other parts of San Francisco to lower-income people of color."

San Francisco Crime:

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