San Francisco DA criticizes Elon Musk for his comment on the murder of Cash App founder Bob Lee

The mystery surrounding the death of the founder of a mobile payment app that supports cryptocurrencies has fuelled fear among San Francisco residents

An attacking hand holding a knife comic book style
In all likelihood, Bob Lee knew Nima Momeni, who was admitted to prison yesterday

Yesterday, Nima Momeni was booked into jail by San Francisco Police. The 38-year-old owner of Expand IT is suspected of stabbing tech executive and founder of Cash App Bob Lee to death on April 4. As police have not released details of the tragedy and have not explained the connection between the two men, other than the fact that they may have known each other, Lee's death has provoked strong negative reactions from those who knew the victim, as well as tech industry influencers.

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One of those who criticized the approach of the San Francisco Police Department was business magnate Elon Musk. His reaction in turn made San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins slam him at yesterday's press conference.

When Jake Shields, a five-time mixed martial arts champion, expressed his sorrow on Twitter over the death of Lee, who turned out to be a good friend of the athlete, Musk told him that many people he knows had been severely assaulted, adding that "violent crime in SF is horrific and even if attackers are caught, they are often released immediately." The entrepreneur and investor also tagged Jenkins in his Twitter comment, asking her whether the city "is the city taking stronger action to incarcerate repeat violent offenders."

That conversation took place on April 5, right after Lee's death. Jenkins claimed that such comments, made at a very early stage of the police investigation, "served to mislead the world in their perceptions of San Francisco and also negatively impact the pursuit of justice for victims of crime." She added that Musk, like everyone else, knew nothing about the facts of the tragedy.

The situation is unclear, but according to Mission Local, an independent online news site for San Francisco's Mission District, the 43-year-old Lee was not killed in a random attack or robbery. Furthermore, the two were seen together in the suspect's car driving through downtown. Police believe the confrontation between the two men may have occurred while they were still in the vehicle and continued after Lee exited the car, resulting in multiple stab wounds that led to Lee's death.

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Even though the police version of events points to a personal matter between Momeni and Lee, influential voices believe that this is only part of the larger underlying criminal problem in San Francisco. Of course, the violent incident has led to even more conflicts between frightened Twitter users who essentially share the same need for safety and are equally confused about the best course of action that can reduce homicides.

For example, the investor and CEO of Evercontract, an application that converts email signatures into address book contacts, sparked a serious row when he expressed a wish for influencers in the tech world to contribute more to the communities in which they live. "Quite ironic that many tech founders who aim to improve the world can't maintain their own local communities. Numerous friends from Silicon Valley have relocated to cities like Los Angeles or Miami within the past two years. Two decades of questionable Democratic policies have contributed to this situation," he said in the comment to Musk's tweet.

When asked how it might be the responsibility of tech founders to maintain local communities, he explained, "As leaders of influential businesses, they can contribute to the well-being of their communities by promoting sustainable growth, creating job opportunities, supporting local initiatives such as low-cost housing ... all of which they preach to the world while on stage at a tech conference."

Another online controversy was provoked by former Berlin House of Representatives member Pavel Mayer's comment on Musk's post. It sparked an entire discussion about the practical value of incarceration.

"Crime correlates negatively with wealth. People with more to lose tend to commit fewer crimes and are also mentally healthier. Locking away people in prison obviously does not help - the U.S. already has the largest prison population in the world. Good luck with locking up more," Mayer said, and was criticized for saying poor people are "eligible to commit crimes."