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Update: SFPD chief '100% confident' investigators will solve fatal stabbing of tech exec Bob Lee

Outrage over deadly SF stabbing that killed respected tech executive Bob Lee grows
Outrage over deadly SF stabbing that killed respected tech executive Bob Lee grows 01:39

SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco Police Chief Bill on Thursday addressed the investigation into the deadly stabbing that killed MobileCoin CPO Bob Lee, expressing confidence his officers would solve the homicide quickly.

Scott spoke with CBS News Thursday afternoon about the case that has sent shockwaves through the city and the tech world.  

When asked if the attack was targeted or random, Scott replied, "It's early to tell. What I will tell you is our homicide team is working tirelessly to get this to a resolution. We have a lot that's on our plate with this investigation and following up on things that need to be followed up on. We'll put the information out but we don't want to do anything to compromise this investigation."

San Francisco Crime:

Scott maintained that the department has a team of "very excellent homicide investigators" on the case and touted the department's clearance rate of 80%-85% on homicide cases year to date.

"I have 100% confidence in this unit," Scott said.

When asked about criticism leveled against San Francisco as a lawless city, Scott was quick to defend his department.

"Let's look at the data. Yes, our homicide rate is up one more than we had this time last year," Scott said. "It's still early in the year. Let's look at the last five years. You know, pre-pandemic -- go back to 2019 -- we were down to a low in homicides we hadn't seen since the early '60s. It has creeped up since then. The pandemic year, I think across the country we saw violent crime creep up. So we're no different.

He continued: "When you look at San Francisco's violent crime rate compared to other cities per 100,000 [in population], we're towards the bottom for major cities. That never gets talked about. We have our issues with our city. We have some things we definitely have to continue to work on. We have these images that go viral and are posted all over the world dealing with drug use and homelessness. Those are real issues in our city and we're addressing that too. But violent crime? We're not that city."   

While police have released very limited information regarding the deadly stabbing, some details about the fatal attack that left Lee bleeding from multiple stab wounds on the sidewalk have surfaced.

Officers responded to the 300 block of Main Street in the city's Rincon Hill neighborhood shortly after 2:30 a.m. Tuesday morning after a report of a stabbing, police said in their official release that came out Wednesday evening.

READ MORE: Memorials, anxiety grow at S.F. Rincon Hill site of tech executive Bob Lee's deadly stabbing

MobileCoin CPO Bob Lee MobileCoin

According to the San Francisco Standard, Lee can be heard screaming "Help! Someone stabbed me!" in the audio of the 911 call he made with his cell phone prior to officers arriving. The San Francisco Standard also reported that Lee could be seen in surveillance video from an area building walking west up Main Street after being mortally injured. The video reportedly showed him walking up to a parked car that had its hazard lights on and lifting his shirt -- apparently to show his wound as he asked for help -- before the vehicle drove away.

READ MORE: Slaying of tech exec Bob Lee heightens vigilance in San Francisco's East Cut neighborhood

The security camera video showed him walking toward the Portside condo complex and collapsing less than 20 feet from the front door after the car drove off. Officers arrived and located the stabbing victim, who was later identified as the 43-year-old founder of Cash App and former CEO of Square. Officers began life-saving aid until medics arrived; Lee died of his injuries at the hospital.

SFPD investigates fatal stabbing of tech exec Bob Lee
SFPD investigates fatal stabbing of tech exec Bob Lee early Tuesday, April 4, 2023. CBS

Police and the city's medical examiner's office did not initially identify Lee Tuesday evening. Friends and co-workers of confirmed Lee's death as did MobileCoin, the 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. His father, Rick Lee, posted on social media that the two had been living in the San Francisco suburb of Mill Valley.

"Life has been an adventure with two bachelors living together, and I'm so happy that we were able to become so close these last years. Bob would give you the shirt off his back," the post read in part. "He would never look down on anyone and adhered to a strict no-judgment philosophy. Bobby worked harder than anyone and was the smartest person I have ever known. He will be missed by all those that knew him."

San Francisco Crime: 

San Francisco has been grappling with an apparent uptick in crime as it still attempts to bounce back from the pandemic. Preliminary police data reports 12 homicides in San Francisco this year, an uptick of 20% compared to the same time period in the previous year. In total, there were 56 homicides in San Francisco in 2022, which is the exact same number of homicides the city saw in 2021.

The fatal stabbing sent shockwaves through San Francisco's East Cut, which also includes the area known as Rincon Hill. 

Tracy McCray, the vice president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association, says violent crime of this nature is unusual for the East Cut neighborhood, but adds it could happen anywhere. 

Officers of the Southern Station are stretched thin as the SFPD faces severe staffing shortages, adding to the complexity of the investigation. 

"They're short staffed. And I think people forget that the southern district is also responsible for Treasure Island, so they have a much larger footprint, doing more with less," McCray said. 

There was a growing memorial paying tribute to Lee where the deadly crime unfolded near the intersection of Harrison and Main.

Chris Heimbuch worked with Lee and stopped by to drop off flowers and a handwritten note.

"That smile will stay with me forever," Heimbuch said.

Because of this tragedy, Heimbuch says the world has lost a great leader in the tech industry but, most importantly, a loving dad, son and brother.

"This is an emergency that's reached a point to -- what else is this going to take? And I'm not talking about this horrible murder. It happens everywhere, all over the city," Heimbuch said. 

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