San Francisco police on Wednesday made an arrest in Emeryville of a suspect they say may have murdered Bob Lee on April 4, ending a week and a half of widespread speculation and lamentations about the level of crime in SF.
Mission Local broke the news early Thursday of the arrest of Nima Momeni, who is listed on LinkedIn as an "IT Consultant/Entrepreneur." Investigators' theory of the case is that Momeni and Lee were in a car together driving through downtown San Francisco when they got into some sort of conflict around 2:30 a.m., and Momeni stabbed Lee multiple times with a knife that was found discarded not far from where Lee was found, on the 300 block of Main Street near Rincon Hill.
It's not clear whether the stabbing occurred in the car or on the street. The knife had previously been described as a four-inch kitchen knife.
Law enforcement sources told Mission Local that there were multiple bits of evidence that led them to believe this could not have been a random stabbing on the street. In recent days, Mayor London Breed and others had hinted that details about this crime that had not been made public were likely to shift the narrative.
Lee, 43, was reportedly back in town on business after moving to Miami last year. He was the founder of CashApp, and an executive with MobileCoin. It is not yet clear how Lee and Momeni knew each other.
His death last Monday sparked a wave of outrage from friends in the tech sector and many others online and in the media — including from Elon Musk, who used it as an excuse to declare that the state of San Francisco's streets was awful, and he knew "multiple" people who had been "seriously assaulted," all because liberal San Francisco is too soft on crime. "Violent crime in SF is horrific and even if attackers are caught, they are often released immediately," Musk said.
As it posted surveillance video online of Lee's final moments last week, the UK Daily Mail declared that "SAN FRAN [is] OUT OF CONTROL."
As Breed tried to reiterate in speaking with the media, and as Mission Local reiterates, violent crime in the city is at a historic low currently, despite there being a lot of petty crime, rampant, open-air drug-selling and drug use, and plenty of visible homelessness and mental illness.
Supervisor Matt Dorsey tweeted thanks to the SFPD's Homicide Division in potentially solving the case of Lee's murder. "Obviously, nothing can undo this senseless crime, and we reiterate our condolences to Mr. Lee’s family members, friends and colleagues," Dorsey said. "But I hope today’s arrest can begin a process of healing and closure for all those touched by this tragedy."
Supervisor Dean Preston tweeted that "apologies are in order" from all the "people who tried to exploit this tragedy to stoke hatred of the poor."
The people who tried to exploit this tragedy to stoke hatred of the poor should be ashamed. Some public apologies are in order. https://t.co/DJzWZ1O8dd— Dean Preston (@DeanPreston) April 13, 2023