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A former personal assistant to tech CEO Fahim Saleh, who was found beheaded and dismembered earlier this week in his New York City apartment, has been taken into police custody and charged with murder, authorities said Friday.
Brooklyn resident Tyrese Devon Haspil, 21, was taken into custody Friday morning as a suspect in the death of the 33-year-old tech executive, NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison told reporters during a news briefing to announce the charge.
Haspil had worked as Saleh’s executive assistant and handled his financial and personal matters, officials said.
“It is also believed that he owed the victim a significant amount of money,” Harrison said.
Saleh was the chief executive officer of a ride-hailing motorcycle startup called Gokada that began operating in Nigeria in 2018. His cousin discovered his dismembered body around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday inside his luxury seventh-floor apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
His head, arms and legs were found amputated, Harrison said. An electric saw was also found in the living room, police said.
Fahim Saleh (Instagram)
On Monday afternoon, Saleh was assaulted by Haspil with a Taser to immobilize him, officials said. Investigators had previously recovered security video showing Saleh exiting an elevator that leads directly into his $2.2 million two-bedroom apartment, closely followed by a masked person dressed entirely in black, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press.
The footage then shows a struggle between the two at the entrance to the apartment, said the official, who wasn’t authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Police believe that the relative may have interrupted the intruder before that person fled out a back exit. Detectives previously said they believe Saleh’s dismemberment was interrupted when a relative visited the apartment, causing the killer to flee.
The medical examiner on Thursday ruled the death a homicide after an autopsy found the cause of death was multiple stab wounds to the body.
Haspil has been charged with second-degree murder, Harrison said. Investigators initially said the killing looked “like a professional job,” but one said several mistakes were made, according to The New York Times.
For one, the Taser was purchased online with a credit card and the package was signed for when it arrived, leading to Haspil, two officials told the newspaper.
In a statement Wednesday, Saleh’s family said he was more than “what you are reading.”
“He is so much more,” the family said. “His brilliant and innovative mind took everyone who was a part of his world on a journey and he made sure never to leave anyone behind.”
Fox New’s Marta Dhanis and The Associated Press contributed to this report.