IT boss arrested over Cash App exec Bob Lee death
Alleged killer said to be industry pal, faces one count of murder
Updated San Francisco police have arrested a man in connection with the killing of tech executive Robert Lee.
Lee, the first CTO of Square, founder of Cash App, and chief product officer of MobileCoin, was stabbed to death on April 4. He was discovered fatally wounded around 0235 in the Rincon Hill neighborhood, near downtown San Francisco, and died in hospital.
The arrest was confirmed to The Register by Aaron Peskin, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
According to non-profit news org Mission Local, which first reported the arrest, the suspect worked in the tech industry and was allegedly known to Lee – the two are said to have been in a car together prior to Lee's death.
The arrest reportedly took place in Emeryville, which is just across the Bay Bridge to the East of San Francisco. Mission Local identified the suspect as Nima Momeni: the owner of enterprise technology consultancy Expand IT, which offers services ranging from server and network administration to audits and helpdesk management.
The San Francisco Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
"I’m grateful to SFPD’s Homicide Detail and all the officers from SFPD Southern and elsewhere for their tireless work to bring Bob Lee’s killer to justice and for their arrest of a suspect this morning," said San Francisco City Supervisor Matt Dorsey via Twitter.
"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."
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Lee's slaying elicited an outcry from friends and colleagues, many of whom suggested the US West Coast city had deteriorated in lawlessness. City leaders in turn tried to push back on the politicized soft-on-crime narrative.
Now that tech industry figure is implicated instead of a vagrant, there are calls to walk back those claims.
Kaivan Shroff, senior advisor to the Institute for Education, via Twitter said, "Tragic story but the record must be corrected. All those tech bros tried to blame the murder of Cash App Bob Lee on progressivism in San Francisco (basically tried to imply a homeless person did it). Now we know police have arrested a tech exec in connection with the stabbing."
TV writer Alex Blagg quipped, "We can’t keep ignoring … what’s happening in the streets of SF. The blight was bad enough, but now it’s become deadly. The rampant tech bro problem must be cleaned up once and for all." ®
Updated to add
In a press conference on Thursday afternoon, San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott confirmed 38-year-old Nima Momeni, of Emeryville, California, was arrested and booked on one charge of murder.
Scott said Lee and Momeni knew each other but declined to explain how the police came to that conclusion. Momeni, being held at the San Francisco County Jail, is expected to be arraigned on Friday.
San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said her office intends to file a motion to keep Momeni in custody, and raised objections to public speculation about Lee's death that mischaracterized San Francisco.
"I must point out that reckless and irresponsible statements like those contained in Mr Musk's tweet that assume incorrect circumstances about Mr Lee's death serve to mislead the world in their perceptions of San Francisco and also negatively impact the pursuit of justice for victims of crime," she said.