The black-clad killer who murdered and dismembered tech CEO Fahim Saleh inside his Lower East Side apartment may have been scared off by the unexpected arrival of one of his victims — fleeing the scene shortly before their hellish handiwork was uncovered, police sources said Wednesday.
Concerned because she hadn’t been able to get in touch with him since Monday, a female relative of Saleh’s went to his posh apartment building at the corner of East Houston and Suffolk streets on Tuesday afternoon.
When she buzzed Saleh’s seventh-floor apartment, the killer may still have been inside, sending him fleeing down a flight of stairs exiting onto Suffolk Street while the relative was riding the elevator up, sources said, outlining one theory.
The relative entered to find a scene of abject carnage.
The torso of Saleh, 33, was found decapitated, with all four limbs severed with surgical precision — arms at the shoulders, legs below the knees — and stuffed into plastic bags, sources said.
One source described the murder as “professional,” with the blood confined to one corner of the room, in a nearly perfect outline around Saleh’s torso, which appeared to be facing up.
The killer remained at large Wednesday, as sources revealed more details about how he stalked Saleh in his final moments. Surveillance video from the building’s lobby shows Saleh and the suspected killer — clad in black from head to toe and carrying a bag — enter the elevator together.
Saleh used a key fob to send the elevator to the seventh floor, while the killer, faked selecting another floor, sources said.
There was a brief exchange of words between the two then when the doors of the elevator — which let out directly into Saleh’s apartment — opened up, the attacker followed him inside, sources said.
The last thing the video shows before the doors close is the killer zapping Saleh with a Taser.
Saudi-born to Bangladeshi parents, Saleh was a venture capitalist whose social media was lined with posts about his Nigerian-based motorcycle ride-sharing app, Gokada.
While Saleh had succeeded in roles with similar start-ups in Bangladesh and Colombia, he detailed in recent months struggles with Nigerian authorities, who were cracking down on Gokada over supposed safety concerns.
“I’m never gonna give up, because that’s the true attribute of an entrepreneur, never giving up,” Saleh said in the five-minute monologue posted to Youtube, and later shared by Gokada on its Twitter account. “Entrepreneurs are the ones that really change countries, that really change cities. They’re the ones who bring the vision, they’re the ones who bring the passion.”
Authorities are yet to identify a suspect or concrete motive in Saleh’s murder, but sources said that they’re looking into his company’s finances.
“We are very shocked and praying right now. I came from the hospital and we have to pray right now,” the uncle said. “It’s a tremendous loss.”
Additional reporting by Steven Vago