San Francisco officials confirmed on Wednesday that Cash App Founder and MobileCoin CPO Bob Lee was stabbed to death in the Rincon Hill neighborhood, leading to outrage from residents and tech leaders alike for increased policing and safety in the city.
Lee, a San Francisco native, started his career in the early 2000’s after graduating from St. Louis University, working for both AT&T and Google in the city before becoming the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for the e-commerce company Square in 2010. Three years later, he helped found Cash App, one of the largest mobile payment services in the world. Since then, he was one of the largest tech investors in the Bay Area, going in early on ventures including SpaceX. His most recent position was Chief Product Officer for the mobile cryptocurrency app MobileCoin.
While Lee had moved to Miami last year to take advantage of the city embracing cryptocurrency companies, he came back last week for a MobileCoin Leadership Summit in the city and opted to stay an extra few days to see friends. While details have not been released on what occurred Monday night, it is known that Lee was stabbed in the early morning hours of Tuesday, was moving around clutching his side, had asked some bystanders for help, and finally collapsed in the Rincon Hill neighborhood nearby both the financial district and Google headquarters.
While reports of his death started cropping up on Tuesday, city officials didn’t confirm his death until Wednesday morning after his family had been properly notified.
“The homicide of Bob Lee is a horrible tragedy and my sympathies go out to his family and friends,” said Mayor London Breed on Wednesday. “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.”
San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said in a statement, “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.”
The district representative, Supervisor Matt Dorsey, also noted that “This is a senseless tragedy that I know is made worse by the fact that no suspect is yet in custody. I’ve also heard from many constituents in the area — some of whom have already voiced concerns to me about public safety challenges — and I’m asking everyone to cooperate with police in their investigation, especially those with access to surveillance video that may help.”
While an outpouring of condolences from other tech leaders abounded late Tuesday and on Wednesday, many also took the time to criticize San Francisco and it’s leadership in trying to stop crime.
“Bob Lee was an incredible human being. Saying Bob’s name in the past tense feels ridiculous. I don’t even know where to begin,” MobileCoin CEO Joshua Goldbard tweeted Tuesday.
1/ Thread 🧵
.@crazybob was an incredible human being. Saying bob’s name in the past tense feels ridiculous.
I don’t even know where to begin.
— Joshua Goldbard (@ThePBXGuy) April 5, 2023
Twitter Owner and Tesla Founder Elon Musk critically said “Violent crime in SF is horrific and even if attackers are caught, they are often released immediately,” in a tweet, tagging in DA Jenkin’s Twitter handle.
Lee’s death further highlights San Francisco’s growing crime problem
Lee’s death has also brought a renewed focus on San Francisco’s crime problem. So far in 2023, violent crimes have gone up, with an 18% increase in robberies and a 33% increase in homicides from this time last year. In addition to the city’s crime rate remaining high, the city is also severely short police officers , with San Francisco taking drastic measures to try and keep as many cops on the street as possible.
“This has been going on the city for quite sometime, and it took the stabbing death of a prominent citizen for people to really react to the situation we’re in right now,” explained Bay Area security consultant and former law enforcement official Frank Ma to the Globe on Wednesday. “People like Breed keep saying that they are going to crackdown on crime, but yet they were also the ones who called for defunding and are not doing anything about people blatantly stealing from stores here. We have so many people and businesses leaving because of how bad it is here.”
“And Lee was even attacked in what is considered a ‘good’ and ‘safe’ neighborhood. We’ve fallen so much here.”
Another Bay area resident, Sebastian Luke, said, “The stabbing death of Bob Lee was a horrific and senseless tragedy. Crime is so out of control in San Francisco. And, when these perpetrators are captured, they will be back on the street in the next day and even in just a few hours later.”
“Many of my friends have been attacked on the streets of San Francisco for no apparent reasons or provocations. People are fed up with the crime in the city. They feel that the City fails them. The City wants people to go back to their downtown/Financial District offices but they don’t feel safe to be in the ghost town area. The City must do better in providing us with a safe environment to live and work.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, no suspect or arrest has been announced, with police giving no details on a possible suspect.
- Democrat and GOP Candidates Join 33rd Assembly District Race Following Asm. Devon Mathis Announcing his Last Term - December 2, 2023
- Legislative Analyst Reports: California Facing $58 Billion Budget Deficit Over Next Few Years - December 1, 2023
- San Francisco Office Vacancies Reach 35%, Breaking New Record - December 1, 2023