San Francisco

Cash App Founder's Death Puts San Francisco Crime Back in Spotlight

Bob Lee was MobileCoin's chief product officer and also served as Square's chief technology officer

NBC Universal, Inc.

San Francisco crime is in the spotlight again after the killing of a high-profile tech executive.

Bob Lee, who founded Cash App, was fatally stabbed Tuesday near Rincon Hill and the Bay Bridge, sources tell NBC Bay Area. The slaying has prompted some, including Twitter chief Elon Musk, to discuss violent crime in the city.

"Violent crime in SF is horrific and even if attackers are caught, they are often released immediately," Musk said in a reply to mixed martial artist Jake Shields, who was tweeting about Lee's death.

Shields said Lee was a "good friend."

Lee, 43, was the chief product officer of MobileCoin. He was also former chief technology officer of Square.

"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," MobileCoin CEO Josh Goldbar said in a statement Wednesday.

Goldbar's statement did not provide details on how Lee passed away.

In a Facebook post from a profile appearing to belong to Lee’s father, the tech executive is remembered as someone who “would give you the shirt off his back.”

“He would never look down on anyone and adhered to a strict no-judgment philosophy,” the Facebook post said. “Bobby worked harder than anyone and was the smartest person I have ever known. He will be missed by all those that knew him.”

Police, who reported a deadly stabbing at 2:35 a.m. Tuesday in the 300 block of Main Street, have not identified the victim. An investigation is ongoing and no arrests appeared to have been made as of Wednesday morning.

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

San Francisco Supervisor Matt Dorsey said he has heard from residents voicing public safety concerns after Lee’s death. He is calling on everyone to cooperate with police in their investigation.

“My heart goes out to Mr. Lee’s family members, friends and loved ones,” Dorsey said in a tweet. “This is a senseless tragedy that I know is made worse by the fact that no suspect is yet in custody.”

Mayor London Breed provided the following statement:

"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."

Community activists in the Mission want San Francisco to declare a state of emergency when it comes to crime in their neighborhood. NBC Bay Area’s Raj Mathai spoke to Mayor London Breed who is asking for more money to fund the police.

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott released the following statement Wednesday night.

“I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones of Mr. Lee. There is no place for this kind of violent crime against anyone in our city. I want to assure everyone that our investigators are working tirelessly to make an arrest and bring justice to Mr. Lee and his loved ones, just as we try to do on every homicide that occurs in our city.”

Anyone with information about the fatal stabbing is asked to call the Police Department's tip line at 415-575-4444 or to send a tip by text message to TIP411 with "SFPD" at the start of the message.

San Francisco crime is in the spotlight again after the killing of high-profile tech executive and Cash App founder Bob Lee. Raj Mathai speaks with San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins on this.
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