The 43-year-old Money App founder was stabbed to loss of life in downtown San Francisco early Tuesday morning, sparking a wave of grief from fellow tech founders and fueling a debate about crime within the metropolis.
The San Francisco Police Division mentioned in a press launch that officers responded to a report of a stabbing round 2:35 a.m. Tuesday, during which they discovered a “43-year-old grownup male sufferer with obvious stab wounds.”
“Officers rendered help and referred to as paramedics to the scene. The sufferer was transported to an area hospital with non-life-threatening accidents. “Regardless of the efforts of first responders and medical personnel, the sufferer succumbed to his accidents.”
The stabbing occurred on the 300 block of Fundamental Road, an space dotted with different tech workplaces and million-dollar condos. The sufferer was Bob Lee, the Chief Product Officer of cryptocurrency firm MobileCoin.
“Bob was a dynamo, a pressure of nature,” MobileCoin CEO Joshua Goldbar mentioned in a press release. “Bob believed within the dignity of privateness. He wished a world the place you and I may do enterprise free from the prying eyes of predatory companies and criminals. We’re grateful and humbled for all the things he has accomplished for us.”
Lee’s father Rick shared an emotional tribute on Fb, saying he’s misplaced his “greatest buddy.”
“Bob would provide the shirt off his again,” he wrote. “He would by no means look down on anybody and adhered to a strict philosophy of non-judgment.”
He added: “Bobby labored more durable than anybody and was the neatest particular person I’ve ever identified. He might be missed by all who knew him.”
His brother Tim wrote that he was “unhappy and discouraged” on the loss and felt he had “misplaced part of him [him]self.”
NBC Bay Space reporter Scott McGrew called that mates of Lee reported that he “left San Francisco for Miami however returned for a quick go to” earlier than his assault.
Previous to MobileCoin, Lee labored for a number of years at Google – the place he helped develop Android – earlier than becoming a member of Sq.. The corporate, which later modified its title to Block, is the place Lee created the Money App.
Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who additionally based Block, confirmed the information of Lee’s loss of life on the social community Nostr. “It’s actual,” Dorsey wrote in response to a publish figuring out Lee. “Getting calls. heartbreaking. Bob was instrumental within the Sq. and Money App.”
Through the pandemic, Lee additionally labored to stem the unfold of the illness, developed a house testing app, campaigned for vaccines, and volunteered with the World Well being Group.
As of mid-morning native time, police had launched few particulars in regards to the incident, together with whether or not Lee knew the attacker or was merely the sufferer of a random assault. Nevertheless, his loss of life has already been used as alleged proof that authorities have did not curb crime.
In an replace Wednesday simply earlier than midnight, San Francisco Police Chief William Scott launched a press release relating to the continued homicide investigation.
“I want to supply my deepest condolences to Mr. Lee’s household, mates and family members. There isn’t any place in our metropolis for any such violent crime in opposition to anybody,” Chief Scott mentioned.
“I wish to guarantee everybody that our investigators are working tirelessly to arrest Mr. Lee and his family members and convey justice, simply as we attempt to with each homicide in our metropolis.”
He added the investigation was “within the early levels” and mentioned officers wouldn’t touch upon the proof. “Nor will we speculate in regards to the circumstances surrounding this horrible crime.”
Chief Scott added, “Whereas we’ll allocate the mandatory assets and personnel to this investigation, I want to guarantee everybody in San Francisco that our division is staffed and prepared to answer any service calls.”
After discovering out his “good buddy,” former UFC fighter Jake Shields, was killed claims Lee “was within the ‘good’ a part of city and appeared to have been the goal of a random mugging/assault.”
“Fuck San Francisco,” Shields added.
“I’m very sorry to listen to that,” mentioned Twitter CEO Elon Musk answered to the Shields tweet. “Many individuals I do know have been badly attacked. Violent crimes in SF are appalling, and even when attackers are caught, they’re usually launched instantly.” Musk went on to ask San Francisco District Legal professional Brooke Jenkins if town was “taking stronger motion to incarcerate repeat offenders.”
Tech enterprise capitalist Matthew Ocko went additional, arguing that Jenkins’ predecessor Chesa Boudin and “the legal councilman who made it potential” have “Bob’s literal blood on their palms.” “Deal with”, Ocko wrote. He mentioned Lee is a buddy of his and the folks at his firm, and his “coronary heart goes out to him [Lee’s] Lover.”
“Think about having an incredible profession, constructing a enterprise that helps your metropolis and your residents – solely to be violently killed in a metropolis that’s failing enforcement and forcing its residents to be defenseless,” explains Douglas Karr, founding father of Martech Zone wrote in response to information of Lee’s loss of life. “I don’t know how #Sanfran politicians sleep at night time.”
The variety of homicides in San Francisco remained flat between 2021 and 2022, though the variety of assaults and rapes elevated barely, based on SFPD information. In 2019, town recorded its lowest variety of homicides in practically 60 years. Twelve homicide victims have been registered to date in 2023 – two greater than in the identical interval of the earlier 12 months.
In a press release, San Francisco Mayor London Breed mentioned town is “precedence to public security, together with the current passage of our extra price range to permit us to have the police personnel wanted to have extra cops in our neighborhoods.” and to research violent crimes once they happen. I’m assured that if the police make an arrest in such circumstances, our district legal professional will do no matter is critical to carry everybody accountable for his or her actions.”
Wesley Chan, a enterprise capitalist and former Google worker, instructed The Day by day Beast that Lee was a key supporter of many tech founders and would reply the cellphone at any time of the night time to supply recommendation. He mentioned Lee even helped him with one in every of his personal engineering tasks with out asking for something in return.
“He was each your cheerleader and your coach,” Chan mentioned. “He made this extremely lonely journey a lot extra bearable for a legion of individuals in Silicon Valley.”
Shields, the previous UFC fighter, instructed The Day by day Beast he was set to satisfy Lee in Miami on Thursday, and he described his late buddy as reserved and humble. “Once we met, I didn’t even know he was a giant tech,” Shields mentioned. “He’s a man no person has something unhealthy to say about him. So I’m virtually constructive it have to be a random assault.”
Shields added that he and Lee had completely different political beliefs, however they loved participating in “lengthy, fascinating debates.”
One other longtime buddy, Ajit Varma, mentioned he met Lee about 18 years in the past; They went to a live performance collectively, then stayed up till 7am enjoying Nintendo Wii. Varma additionally evoked Lee’s welcoming and beneficiant spirit. “He all the time addressed me,” he mentioned. “He was so good and so caring. He all the time put his mates first.”
In response to Varma, Lee grew up in St. Louis and had restricted publicity to the tech world. Finally he began programming and growing open supply know-how that caught the attention of Google.
“On the time, Google was making an attempt to recruit at locations like MIT and Stanford, and Bob didn’t have these credentials,” Varma mentioned. “However he was an amazing programmer. He was most likely the neatest Java engineer I’ve ever met.”
Different colleagues and mates of Lee paid tribute to him on social media. “I simply obtained the devastating information that our buddy Bob Lee…was killed in SF this morning.” tweeted Invoice Barhydt, co-founder of crypto pockets Abra. “Bob was a father, the previous CTO of Sq. the place he created Money App and CTO of Cell Coin. He was a beneficiant, first rate man who didn’t need to be killed.”
“So unhappy to listen to about this [Lee’s] premature demise,” Dylan Area, CEO of Figma wrote in his tribute. “I first met him in the summertime of 2006 – he didn’t care that I used to be solely 14 and that we have been speaking about engineering and programming. We stayed related through the years and he was an early supporter of Figma. It’s so exhausting to consider he’s gone.”
“RIP to one of the crucial sensible realists I’ve ever met.” wrote Joshua Donaldson, founding father of the non-profit group When the Music Stops. Donaldson added that Lee is a “radical single dad.”
TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington referred to as Lee “among the finest folks I’ve ever met,” whereas investor Megan Quinn described him as “the nicest particular person — all the time encouraging, all the time upbeat.”
“And that smile!” she added. “He all the time smiled. That is how I’ll keep in mind him.”
Police have urged anybody with details about this case to name the SFPD 24-hour tip hotline at 1-415-575-4444 or ship a tip to TIP411 and start the textual content message with SFPD. You may stay nameless or go away your info for follow-up by a murder detective.