SAN FRANCISCO — In the hours after a tech executive was stabbed to death on a San Francisco street with no clear suspect, billionaire Elon Musk led an outcry on Twitter, where other tech executives and wealthy investors said they were fed up with the violent repeat offenders. ‘ getting away with it in the largest tech center in the US.
On Thursday it became clear that his interpretation of the murder had been incorrect.
City officials told a news conference that tech executive Bob Lee was killed not randomly but by a man he knew, and San Francisco’s chief prosecutor called Musk by name for jumping to conclusions. .
District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said Musk was reckless when He suggested within hours of the murder «violent repeat offenders» were involved.
“Reckless and irresponsible statements such as those contained in Mr. Musk’s tweet, which implied incorrect circumstances surrounding Mr. Lee’s death, served to mislead the world in its perception of San Francisco,” Jenkins said.
The statements, he continued, «also have a negative impact on the pursuit of justice for crime victims, as it spreads misinformation at a time when the police are trying to solve a very difficult case.»
Musk, the richest person in the country according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent to Twitter, where he is the chief executive and majority owner.
“Violent crime in San Francisco is horrific and even if the attackers are caught, they are often immediately released,” Musk wrote.
He added that the city should take stronger action to jail repeat violent offenders and tagged Jenkins’ Twitter account.
Lee’s death and Musk’s tweet added fuel to what has become a particularly contentious issue in San Francisco. Debates about crime, drugs and homelessness and the city’s response to them have become flashpoints, with some in the tech and start-up community coming together to drive change. That community helped remember the former district attorney, Chesa Boudin, who came under fire for seeking alternatives to incarceration.
San Francisco has recorded 13 homicides this year, matching last year’s tally in the same time period, according to police department data. Robberies and assaults have also remained relatively constant over the past year.
Musk wasn’t the only one quick to offer an opinion on Lee’s murder and its broader significance for San Francisco. Matt Ocko, a venture capitalist, called San Francisco was «lawless» and said the «criminal-loving city council» had «literal blood on their hands.»
Michelle Tandler, a startup founder who often tweets about crime, said the murder was part of a “disturbing crime wave” that justified calling the National Guard. Michael Arrington, the founder of the news site TechCrunch, tweeted that he hated “what San Francisco has become.”
And investor Jason Calacanis, rejecting a call to wait for the facts, saying the city was run by «evil, incompetent fools and con men who accomplish nothing except allow rampant violence.»
calacanis tweeted on Thursday that he stood by his earlier view, «regardless of any of the thousands of violent crimes that occur each month.» Arrington, Ocko and Tandler did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Rival interpretations of the murder had also played out in the media, with the San Francisco Chronicle. warning that violent crime was relatively low in the city, while The New York Times put the quote «lawless» in a headline.
Mayor London Breed noted at Thursday’s press conference how the case had received a great deal of attention.
“There has been a lot of speculation and a lot of things said about our city and crime in the city,” Breed said, praising the patient work of prosecutors and police.
Jenkins said people would have been better off waiting for more facts before making sweeping statements.
“We all should and must do better not to contribute to the spread of such misinformation without having real facts behind the statements we make. The victims deserve it and the residents of San Francisco deserve it,” Jenkins said.