Saturday morning in criminal court in Manhattan, 21-year old Tyrese Devon Haspil was charged with second degree murder, accused in the killing and dismemberment of tech entrepreneur Fahim Saleh, his former boss. Police say the gruesome crime happened Monday afternoon inside Saleh’s luxury Lower East Side condo at 265 East Houston St.
Security video showed someone wearing a black suit, mask and latex gloves following Saleh into a keyed building elevator and then his 7th floor apartment, apparently shooting Saleh with a Taser and stabbing him. Video showed the same man returning the next day with an electric saw, partially dismembering the victim.
Haspil, once a student at Hofstra University, was arrested on Friday at an an apartment on Crosby Street in Soho and taken to the 7th Precinct. Investigators believe Haspil had stolen $90,000 from Saleh, who fired him but did not report Haspil to the authorities. Saleh, 33, reportedly offered to set up a payment plan, allowing Haspil to repay the money over a period of time.
The NYPD’s chief of detectives, Rodney Harrison, explained, “Mr. Haspil was Mr. Saleh’s executive assistant and handled his finances and personal matters. It is also believed that he owed the victim a significant amount of money.”
Haspil pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail. His attorneys released a statement, which read, in part, “We urge the public to keep an open mind. There is much more to this narrative than the accusations, an arrest by the police and a charge by the district attorney.”
A young tech CEO’s killing and dismemberment “looks like a professional job,” a law enforcement official said. Fahim Saleh, 33, was followed into his luxury Manhattan condo by a man dressed all in black, according to the official. https://t.co/c3X4M2Pq4Z
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 16, 2020
At first, cops thought the murder could have been a professional hit job. But it soon became apparent that this was the work of an amateur. The criminal complaint asserts that Haspil used a credit card to pay for a car service to take him to Home Depot on 23rd Street and to purchase an electric saw and cleaning supplies. As the New York Times noted, the criminal complaint says he’s seen on security camera video making the purchase at 9:30 a.m.
Back at the apartment, investigators believe the killer’s efforts to dismember the body were interrupted by the arrival of Saleh’s cousin. When she arrived in the condo, the electric saw was still plugged into the wall. Police say Haspil fled through the back exit.
Saleh was born in Saudi Arabia to Bangladeshi parents. He grew up near Poughkeepsie and graduated from Bentley University in Massachusetts. He created an app called PrankDial, which became a $10 million business and then founded a motorcycle ride sharing app in Bangladesh, and Gokada, another ride sharing app in Nigeria. He was also co-founder of a venture capital firm in Manhattan. According to public records, Saleh purchased the Lower East Side condo for $2.2 million in the summer of 2019.
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We at Gokada are shocked and saddened to hear that Fahim Saleh, our founder and CEO, passed away under tragic circumstances in New York earlier this week. Fahim’s passion for Nigeria and its youth was immeasurable. He believed young Nigerians are extremely bright and talented individuals who would flourish if just given the right opportunity. Fahim also believed that technology can transform lives and improve safety and efficiency. He built Gokada to act upon these beliefs. Under Fahim’s leadership, Gokada has grown to become Nigeria’s leading fully integrated delivery and logistics company, with outstanding growth and profitability metrics. As painful as these last days have been for us, we at Gokada owe it to ourselves and to Fahim’s memory to act and fulfill his vision for the company and for Nigerian youth. RIP, Fahim. You will be missed by everyone at Gokada and by the entire Nigerian startup community.
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Saleh’s family released the following statement:
Firstly, thank you for the words of love and support from all over the world for our dear Fahim. We hear them and they are providing us strength during this time. We understand there is a desire to hear from us, but please understand our devastation and our desire to remain private about the most recent developments surrounding this tragedy. We do, however, want to thank the NYPD and all members of law enforcement for their diligence and hard work in providing at least some peace for our family as we get ready to put our dear Fahim to rest.
Haspil’s next court appearance in Aug. 17.