'Numbing': Friends of Bob Lee react to tech exec's fatal stabbing in San Francisco

Thursday, April 6, 2023
Friends of Bob Lee react to tech exec's fatal stabbing in SF
Friends and family are remembering Bob Lee, the Cash App founder and CPO of MobileCoin who was fatally stabbed in San Francisco early Tuesday morning.

BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: An arrest has been made in the San Francisco stabbing death of 43-year-old tech executive Bob Lee, according SFPD. They say the suspect, 38-year-old Emeryville tech entrepreneur Nima Momeni, appeared to have known Lee and it was not a random street crime. Get the latest updates here.

Bob Lee, Cash App founder and chief product officer of cryptocurrency company MobileCoin, was killed in a San Francisco stabbing, officials confirm.

RELATED: Man arrested in fatal stabbing of Bob Lee, appears to have known Cash App founder, source says

Police say the fatal San Francisco stabbing happened at 2:35 a.m. Tuesday on the 300 block of Main Street.

INTERACTIVE: Take a look at the ABC7 Neighborhood Safety Tracker

"It's just almost numbing, I think everybody close to Bob is just in shock because there was no one who I don't think didn't love Bob," said Doug Dalton who was friends with Lee.

Dalton had dinner with Lee last Saturday. He said Lee had relocated to Miami but was back in town and involved in a business summit for MobileCoin that took place last week. Dalton says Lee's spirits were high.

"He literally did not seem to have a care in the world. He was very excited about where things were going with MobileCoin. He was very excited to be back in the Bay for a bit," said Dalton.

RELATED: 'Ahead of the game': Slain Cash App founder Bob Lee was a leader in financial tech, expert says

Sources tell the ABC7 News I-Team surveillance footage shows Bob Lee walking down Main St. in San Francisco's Rincon Hill neighborhood with apparent stab wounds in his upper left chest. The I-Team was told the 43-year-old tech executive was looking for help and stumbled in front of Portside, a nearby apartment building near the Bay Bridge.

Sources say Lee was holding his side with one hand and using his phone with the other before falling to his knees. A trail of blood covered both sidewalks. The I-Team was told video shows Lee was then able to get up and walk towards a police car that arrived on scene.

Lee received CPR six minutes after emergency crews were dispatched, but died at the scene. A kitchen knife with a 4-inch blade was found in the Caltrans parking lot across the street.

SFPD Chief Bill Scott said Wednesday night that Lee did manage to call 911 to say he'd been stabbed, but did not give his location.

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Neighbors described the scene in Rincon Hill on Tuesday morning.

"It looked viscous, it looked viscous! I took her out at 11 o'clock yesterday morning (referring to her dog) and I saw the blood smeared right around here on the building," said one woman.

"I'm overwhelmed to hear today's news, it's just incredibly tragic," said George Sibble, Lee's former neighbor in Mission Bay.

"We were next door neighbors for three years and spent a lot of time together," said Sibble, who knew Lee during his time as Square's CTO and when he founded Cash App.

"He touched so many lives, he helped with so many different startups," said Sibble. "He was brilliant."

Lee a longtime member of the Silicon Valley software development community had recently moved to Miami. Jake Shields, a current MMA fighter was traveling to go see him there this week.

"I was flying to Miami tomorrow and I had plans to meet up with him, were supposed to hang out," Shields said. "It just happened. I'm still processing. When you lose someone, it takes time, it's not expected.

Close friends describe Lee as an 'incredibly generous person' and the proud father of two daughters.

"He was charismatic, he was brilliant...his dedication to his kids was first and foremost, he was father of the year," said Phil Barkett. "Bob was also a patriot, he loved his country."

Dalton is still saddened and confused over not knowing what happened.

"Even if somebody were trying to rob him or something of that nature, Bob is one of those people who is not going to, he would not have put up a fight or anything like that. He values his children too much and things so I couldn't imagine anything like that," said Dalton.

San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins tweeted that no arrests have been made and no suspect information has been given.

She also said, "I want to extend my sincerest condolences to Mr. Lee's family members & loved ones for his loss. We do not tolerate these horrific acts of violence in San Francisco."

San Francisco Mayor Breed released a statement to ABC7 News Wednesday afternoon.

"The homicide of Bob Lee is a horrible tragedy and my sympathies go out to his family and friends. The Police are actively investigating what happened and will share details as soon as they can.
San Francisco is prioritizing public safety, including recently passing our budget supplemental so we have the police staffing necessary to have more police officers in our neighborhoods and to investigate violent crimes when they do occur. I'm confident that when the Police make an arrest in cases like this, our District Attorney will do what's necessary to hold any individuals accountable for their actions.

Friends told ABC7 News, Lee had no enemies and are convinced the man they knew would've handed over anything of value to avoid violence.

They say Lee moved his family to Miami, including his two young daughters. It's unclear what he was doing back in San Francisco.

The shock of his stabbing death is reaching far beyond the tech industry.

Friends and colleagues of the 43-year-old father and tech executive shared their frustration about what happened.

"I actually lived right where he got killed, and I used to walk there all the time at night," MMA fighter and Lee's friend Jake Shields said. "I did start slowly feeling less and less safe. And that's probably why I moved. I'm in Vegas now."

"I lived in San Francisco for 20 years," he continued. "And I feel like you got run out of that city because they're just, they're not up-keeping it."

Shields said the two have been good friends for about five years, with plans to meet in Miami as soon as Thursday.

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"We were supposed to be hanging out tomorrow night. So that's a little strange," he said. "It just happened, so my mind still processing. When you lose someone you're like, damn, this is not expected. I know he had two daughters as well, that he loved quite a bit. That adds quite an element of sadness to it."

Shields hopes that beyond Lee's high profile tech resume, he is remembered for being an all-around good guy.

"He was a humble nice guy, you know? Talks about his kids a lot, family, just a generally good guy. He's the kind of guy to give you phone calls and talk about issues and it's there's not many people like that anymore," Shields told ABC7 News.

Elon Musk replied to a tweet from Shields, calling out San Francisco's public safety issues.

"Very sorry to hear that. Many people I know have been severely assaulted. Violent crime in SF is horrific and even if attackers are caught, they are often released immediately," Musk tweeted.

In the tweet, Musk also mentioned Jenkins, asking if San Francisco is "taking stronger action to incarcerate repeat violent offenders."

The CEO of Abra shared that Lee was a father, adding that "he was a generous decent human being who didn't deserve to be killed."

Supervisor Matt Dorsey told reporters, "This is not a city where anybody should fear for their lives at 2:30 in the morning. This is a city that has a vibrant nightlife and we should be safe 24-hours a day."

"There's no crime worse than homicide," he continued. "This is something that is just unacceptable."

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Lee was no doubt a major force in the tech world. Before his current job, he acted as CTO of mobile payment app Square and the creator of CashApp. Early in his career- he also worked at Google.

Lee's father posted on Facebook, saying "I just lost my best friend, my son Bob Lee when he lost his life on the street in San Francisco early Tuesday Morning."

Joshua Goldbard, the CEO of MobileCoin released a heartfelt statement on Lee:

"Our dear friend and colleague, Bob Lee passed away yesterday at the age of 43, survived by a loving family and collection of close friends and collaborators.

Bob was a dynamo, a force of nature. Bob was the genuine article. He was made for the world that is being born right now, he was a child of dreams, and whatever he imagined, no matter how crazy, he made real.

Bob was made for the new world, he was the quintessential creator, leader, and consummate hacker. From large contributions to Android at google, to being the first CTO of Square, in that time creating CashApp, and working with us here at Mobilecoin, Bob surely had an impact that will last far beyond his short time on earth. This may sound impressive, but Bob's real resume is the hearts and minds he touched in his time on earth. Bob's legacy is the feeling that you can make a difference if you try, and of course his amazing children.

Bob first came to MobileCoin as an early-stage investor and advisor because he believed in the vision of privacy in commerce. He then came on as our Chief Product Officer and helped launch our Moby app, delivering to the work a best-in-class, non-custodial wallet to support the goal of private payments for all. Crypto never saw anything like this before - Moby broke ground and continues to do so.

Bob believed in the dignity of privacy. He wanted a world where you and I could transact free from the prying eyes of predatory corporations and criminals. We are grateful for and humbled by all he has done for us and to grow MobileCoin's vision.

Steve Jobs said that "Real Artists ship" Bob was a real artist who shipped. Again and again and again. And we will keep on shipping, channeling Bob's enthusiasm and spirit.

Here's to the crazy ones. We will miss you Bob. We love you.

For now, MobileCoin will mourn. We turn our attention to honoring Bob's legacy by holding his loved ones close."

Stay with ABC7 News for the latest details on this developing story.

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