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Emeryville neighbors of Nima Momeni, suspect in Bob Lee murder, express shock after his arrest

Tech exec's Emeryville neighbors shocked by his arrest in Lee murder
Tech exec's Emeryville neighbors shocked by his arrest in Lee murder 06:23

EMERYVILLE -- A pleasant, historic building in Emeryville became the unsuspecting site of the arrest of the man accused of fatally stabbing tech executive Bob Lee.

Neighbors were shocked to wake up to a police presence Thursday morning to arrest resident Nima Momeni.

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

Well-known Bay Area public relations veteran Sam Singer never expected he would work next door to Momemi, accused in Lee's killing.

"Total shock," Singer told CBS News Bay Area. "I'm in the public relations business; we don't normally work next to killers."

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

Singer says he never had a poor encounter with Momeni beyond hearing music a bit too loudly.

"Warm, welcoming, very nice fellow, like any other tech consultant here in the Bay Area, lives in a live-work space," Singer said. "He handed us a stack of cards and said if you ever need anything let me know."

Nima Momeni Opportunity Inc.

According to his Linkedin page, Momeni is the owner of Expand IT. His profile describes the company as providing IT solutions in the Bay Area since 2010.

But by the looks of his apartment, Singer says you never would have suspected Momeni to be involved in a criminal case.

"30-foot ceilings, hung windows, lots of light, gourmet snacks, pool table, nice stereo system lots of wiring things most people in the technology business have," said Singer.

Dave Johnson works across the street and describes himself as a guardian of the community. Every Tuesday and Thursday he says he picks up trash and works to keep the quiet, industrial street where Momeni's live-work space is clean and safe.

"It's impossible that something like this here would have happened," Johnson told CBS News Bay Area. "It's really a shame. It's really unusual."

Momeni has had run-ins with the law in the past. In 2004 he was charged with a misdemeanor for driving while intoxicated and in 2011 he pleaded no contest to selling a switchblade. The charge landed him in jail for 10 days.

Singer, who is an expert in crisis communication, says his building is shocked to be connected to a criminal investigation.

"It's unusual because it's personal. Professionally, it's not unusual, it certainly was unusual for everyone in this building. They're architects, they're filmmakers, or artists they're certainly not used to the cops showing up at 5 a.m. and the news media showing up shortly thereafter."

While police confirmed on Thursday that Lee and Momeni knew each other, it was unclear why they were acquainted and what they were doing in the early morning hours last Tuesday when Lee was stabbed to death. 

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