San Francisco police arrested Nima Momeni, 38, as the prime suspect in the fatal stabbing of Cash App founder Bob Lee. Lee, 43, was fatally stabbed in the early morning hours of April 4. Others say the two were in the same friend group. The suspect and the victim knew each other, said Chief Scott. He declined to elaborate on the motive for the killing. According to the suspect’s LinkedIn page, Momeni ran his own tech company for the past 13 years, called Expand IT, based out of Emeryville, CA. Momeni is charged with first-degree murder and will appear in court on Friday, April 14. While many criticized the city of San Francisco for a violent crime pandemic, city officials are now hitting back, saying the comments are misleading and reckless. Lee’s brutal killing unnerved San Franciscans, as he was stabbed in the well-to-do neighborhood of Rincon Hill. San Francisco police are continuing to investigate the murder and Momeni’s motive. Police have searched Momeni’s sister’s $2M apartment, which is approximately a 15-minute walk from where Lee was murdered.
By Alyssa Lukpat & Zusha Elinson; April 13, 2023
A suspect was arrested in connection with the fatal stabbing in San Francisco of Cash App founder Bob Lee, police said, more than a week after the tech executive’s death shocked Silicon Valley.
Nima Momeni, 38, was arrested by San Francisco police Thursday morning and booked on a murder charge, said Bill Scott, the San Francisco police chief.
Mr. Lee, 43, was fatally stabbed in the early morning hours of April 4. The suspect and the victim knew each other, said Chief Scott. He declined to elaborate on the motive for the killing.
“This is more about human nature and human behavior than it is about our city,” said Chief Scott. “This is not about San Francisco.”
Mr. Momeni is scheduled to be arraigned Friday on the murder charge, said Brooke Jenkins, San Francisco’s district attorney.
Mr. Momeni lived in Emeryville, a small city across the Bay from San Francisco, according to the chief. A LinkedIn profile for a Nima Momeni of Emeryville showed he is an IT consultant and an entrepreneur.
Some tech-industry executives slammed San Francisco over crime after Mr. Lee’s murder. Last week, Elon Musk tweeted, “Violent crime in SF is horrific and even if attackers are caught, they are often released immediately.”
At Thursday’s press conference, city officials hit back at their critics. Ms. Jenkins, the district attorney, called Mr. Musk’s comments “reckless and irresponsible,” saying such statements “serve to mislead the world in their perceptions of San Francisco.”
Homicides rose in San Francisco during the pandemic but the city has a lower murder rate than many other large cities. San Francisco has long had a high property-crime rate. Mr. Lee’s killing unnerved San Franciscans in part because he had been stabbed in the pricey neighborhood of Rincon Hill.
Mr. Lee is known for creating Cash App, which people can use to transfer money, buy crypto and trade stocks. He made the app while he was the chief technology officer at Square Inc., now known as Block Inc., where he worked from 2010 to 2014.
Mr. Lee’s brother, Tim Oliver Lee, wrote on Facebook Thursday morning, “We’re thankful for the SFPD for bringing this person to justice so quickly.”
He added, “Hopefully now our family can begin the healing process.”
Mr. Lee had been living in Miami since October after moving from California, Mr. Lee’s father, Rick Lee, said in a Facebook post earlier this month. It couldn’t be determined why Mr. Lee was in San Francisco when he died.
Mr. Lee worked with people across Silicon Valley as an executive and an angel investor. His old colleagues and friends responded to his death with stories about his selflessness and his knack for coding.
“I first met him in summer 2006—he didn’t care that I was only 14 and we talked tech / geeked out about programming,” Dylan Field, Figma’s chief executive, said on Twitter earlier this month.
Mr. Lee invested in companies including SpaceX, run by Mr. Musk, and Figma, the collaboration-software business Adobe Inc. agreed to acquire for $20 billion last year. Before he joined Square, he worked at Alphabet Inc.’s Google and helped develop the Android mobile operating system.
Mr. Lee was the chief product officer at MobileCoin Inc., a cryptocurrency company, at the time of his death. He first joined the company as an early-stage investor and adviser, and later helped it develop an encrypted mobile wallet.
He was known on Twitter by his handle “crazybob.”
“This may sound impressive, but Bob’s real resume is the hearts and minds he touched in his time on Earth,” Joshua Goldbard, the founder and chief executive of MobileCoin, said earlier this month.