The former personal assistant to a tech entrepreneur who was gruesomely killed and beheaded in his luxury New York City apartment earlier this week is in custody facing murder charges, police officials announced Friday.
The New York City Police Department identified the assistant as 21-year-old Tyrese Haspil of Brooklyn. Law enforcement sources tell News 4 their relationship turned bitter when Fahim Saleh learned Haspil was allegedly stealing from the company.
Police were able to identify Haspil by anti-felon identification cards that were spewed like confetti in Saleh's apartment after Saleh was stunned with a Taser, the law enforcement sources said.
Haspil was arrested outside of an apartment on Crosby Street in SoHo, surveillance video exclusively obtained by NBC New York showed, and he was led away in handcuffs without saying anything. Investigators also were combing through Haspil's home in Brooklyn. He was later charged with murder and was awaiting arraignment Friday night.
The 33-year-old entrepreneur's body was found Tuesday afternoon after sources say a relative went to his Lower East Side apartment to check on him. Police sources familiar with the investigation say he was last seen alive Monday afternoon; a close friend told News 4 she had seen him over the weekend.
Surveillance footage showed Saleh getting on the elevator at his building on East Houston Street, followed by a suspect in dark clothing, police sources said. Saleh was attacked as soon as he got off on the seventh floor, which opened right into his unit, according to sources.
His body wasn't discovered until the following day, when the relative went to check on him. A relative called 911, telling operators Saleh's head, arms and legs had been cut off, and body parts had been found in bags. An electric saw was near the body and still plugged into the electric socket, but there wasn't much blood at the scene. Investigators believe the relative's welfare check interrupted the dismemberment and the killer slipped out of a service exit.
Saleh's close friend, who didn't wish to be identified, described him as a positive person who always saw the glass half full. Friends called him "Elon Musk of the developing world" for his work to bring an Uber-like startup to Nigeria.
"In terms of his energy, I've never met anyone like him. He's always on the go," she told NBC New York. She initially thought his death was a prank after Saleh's relative and his best friend called to inform her of his passing.
"One of the neighbors heard screaming and very loud noises when this happened. I don't know why the neighbors didn't call the cops," she said.
Gokada, the motorbike-hailing company Saleh founded and where he served as CEO, tweeted a statement Wednesday saying they were saddened by "the tragic loss of our founder and CEO, Fahim Saleh. Fahim was a great leader, inspiration and positive light for all of us."
The city medical examiner determined that Saleh died from multiple stab wounds to the neck and torso, ruling the death a homicide. Police say Saleh owned a dog, but the animal was not harmed.