On Thursday, nine days after the late-night stabbing of Bob Lee sparked a fierce uproar about public safety in San Francisco, police said that they had arrested a friend of the senior tech executive and would be charging him with murder.
Nima Momeni, 38, a software entrepreneur and consultant, was arrested and charged with Mr. Lee’s murder. Family members told police that Mr. Lee knew the suspect.
Mr. Momeni, the owner of an enterprise technology company in Emeryville, was arrested there after a lengthy investigation that took place against the backdrop of passionate assertions that the murder was indicative of a city in which the professional class is prone to random assaults. Mr. Momeni was arrested and placed into the San Francisco County Jail on Thursday morning, and his arraignment on a murder charge is set for Friday.
At a press conference, police recognised rising public concern over acts of random violence and property crimes but argued that Mr. Lee’s murder did not follow that pattern.
Democratic state senator Scott Wiener, who represents the city, said the hasty judgements made by tech titans like Elon Musk and colleagues of Mr. Lee, a prominent figure in Silicon Valley, were harmful to San Francisco as it struggles to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
In an interview on Thursday, Mr. Lee’s brother, Oliver Lee of Palo Alto, California, said the efforts to “co-opt” the tragedy had been excruciating for the family. He stated, “Bob loved being in San Francisco, and San Francisco loved Bob,” and went on to say that many young people in the city would approach his brother on the street to seek his counsel.
He explained that his brother, a father of two, had recently moved to Miami from the Bay Area and Silicon Valley for work reasons but frequently returned to the Bay Area for both business and to visit his teenage daughters, who were still living there with his ex-wife.
San Francisco’s district attorney, Brooke Jenkins, stated, “the loss of a young, vibrant leader and innovator has rocked our city and even beyond.” The CEO of Twitter and Tesla, Elon Musk, came under fire for what she called “reckless and irresponsible statements” that painted the city as a dangerous place to live.
In this metropolis of 808,000 inhabitants, the rate of violent crime has decreased or remained stable during the previous several years. According to FBI statistics, the city’s murder rate in 2020 was much lower than the average for large U.S. cities.
Even still, the murder has resulted in ongoing waves of recriminations and heightened tensions between the city and the IT industry, which is crucial to the city’s economic destiny.
The arrest, originally reported by Mission Local on Thursday morning, ended days of mystery surrounding the April 4th murder of Mr Lee, 43, an IT executive who was discovered bleeding on a pavement at approximately 2:35 a.m. Family relatives and law enforcement have indicated he was on business in San Francisco at the time of the attack.
Mr. Lee’s brother described the suspect as “just another tech entrepreneur in my brother’s orbit,” but police officials remained tight-lipped about the case and the motivation.
Based on the new information, it seems that the victims were “more like entrepreneurs and people trying to make their name in San Francisco,” as Oliver Lee put it. But he noted that the family did not know Mr. Momeni as well as his brother did and had no idea what brought the two of them together the night of the murder.
According to his profile on the professional networking site LinkedIn, Mr. Momeni is the owner of Expand IT Inc., a technology support firm with headquarters in a brick loft-style facility in Emeryville, California, just over the bay from San Francisco. His business card states that he offers server administration, cybersecurity, and other related IT services.
According to the Alameda County court records, Mr Momeni was arrested in 2011 for driving with a suspended licence and unlawful possession of a switchblade. The charges of suspended licence and weapon possession were dropped after his no contest plea.
He formerly resided in Mill Valley, an upscale enclave in Marin County, some 15 miles north of San Francisco. Mr. Lee told his friends that he moved to Miami because he enjoyed the buzz of the city’s digital start-ups. According to his father’s social media postings, Mr. Lee and his father recently lived together.