Arrest made in stabbing death of Apple data analyst, DJ

A 22-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with the stabbing outside a Lower Nob Hill nightclub last week that resulted in the death of an Apple data analyst and well-known DJ, authorities said.

Joseph Razo, 29, died at San Francisco General Hospital Tuesday night, just over a week after he was stabbed at the foot of Nob Hill outside The Cellar, a nightclub he frequented and often worked as a DJ.

Razo was stabbed alongside another man, who is recovering, while leaving the nightclub early last Monday morning near the intersection of Taylor and Sutter streets. Police were searching for six men and one woman in connection with the altercation.

On Wednesday, Nestor Canchola was arrested and booked into County Jail on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm.

According to the District Attorney’s office, Canchola cannot be charged at this time, but the case remains under investigation and he’s still custody.

“We don’t know what happened, but I think it’s pretty clear that this was a random act of violence that could have been avoided,” said Jon Lydon, a friend who went to college with Razo. “We miss him.”

Razo’s death came as a surprise to friends and family, who were under the impression his condition was better than it was, “that he was kind of up and down but that he was going to recover,” said Andrew Westhoff, a friend and former coworker.

Razo suffered internal bleeding from multiple deep stab wounds to his stomach and chest area, undergoing six surgeries within 48 hours, according to his friend and former classmate Chris Franco.

“Towards the end, it was really kind of wait and see,” said Franco. “His body had just taken so much trouble at that point that his brain had just not taken in enough oxygen.”

“Joe was a great guy,” said Westhoff. “He truly mastered the art of friendship, he was a true master of relationships. That really showed since so many people have come out and are expressing love for him.”

Last Thursday, Westhoff asked his friends in the band Stang to dedicate a song to Razo during their set at the Boom Boom Room. Taking the stage, Westhoff told the crowd that Razo was going to make it. Then he led a chant: “Fight Joe, Fight.”

“I didn’t know quite what was going on with him,” Westhoff said. “There was kind of a consensus among everyone who wasn’t at the hospital that he was probably going to make it.”

But on Tuesday, Razo’s condition took a turn for the worst.

Westhoff said more than 50 family and friends were gathered at the hospital on the day he died. A big smile was plastered across Razo’s face in photographs posted to a bulletin board in his room, as he towered over loved ones at 6-foot-5.

“It’s the classic Joe photo,” said Westhoff.

Less than 30 minutes after his family made the decision to pull him off life-support, Razo died, Franco said.

“This is a guy who wouldn’t harm a fly and who was such a good member of the community, a broader member of the community in general,” Franco said. “A DJ is someone who kind of likes to see people enjoy themselves.”

Razo was born in Brooklyn and raised in Atlanta. He attended Denison University, a small liberal arts school in Ohio from 2004 to 2008, Franco said.

“When he moved out here from Atlanta he was just kind of ready to start a new chapter,” said Franco. “Joe was literally doing what he loved and doing well at it. Yeah, he worked at Apple. But by and large his identity was always music.”

Razo and Westhoff met in 2009 when the two men worked in the Cyber Video department at Academy of Art University.

Razo had just returned from a trip to India for a wedding when he was stabbed, said Westhoff.

“He was indeed a big friendly giant, master of friendship and someone who just made you feel cooler by simply being in his presence,” Westhoff said.

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