(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Startup CEO shocked with Taser, choked to death in Mid-Market

An employee at a San Francisco startup company allegedly stunned his boss with a Taser and strangled him to death after being accused of embezzling funds from the company, court records revealed Monday.

Kuk Kim, 28, is facing five charges including first-degree murder in connection with the death of Rio Mobility CEO Bart Kylstra, whose company sells products that transform wheelchairs into electric scooters.

Officers from Tenderloin Police Station found Kylstra, 52, dead last Wednesday at the company offices on Market Street near Sixth Street. Prosecutors say Kim electrocuted Kylstra twice before placing him in a carotid choke hold.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Swart wrote in a motion seeking to hold Kim without bail that Kim sought to “cover up his embezzlement of the company’s products” and to avoid being reported or prosecuted.

“Defendant has demonstrated that when it comes to facing the consequences of his fraudulent criminal behavior that he is willing to take it even a step further and not only embezzle but follow up with killing an individual when confronted with his misdeeds,” Swart wrote in the motion filed Monday.

Kim was scheduled to appear in court Monday afternoon. His arraignment was continued until Wednesday morning.

Kim, who worked as a financial officer for Rio Mobility, is accused of killing his boss after another employee confronted him at a tea shop on Market Street last Wednesday for allegedly stealing funds from the company.

Kim and the other employee went to the offices of Rio Mobility to discuss the matter with Kylstra after the meeting, according to court records. The other employee then left Kim and Kylstra to talk.

That evening, Kylstra did not return phone calls and the other employee could not gain access to the offices, according to prosecutors. The other employee eventually went to Tenderloin Police Station and brought police along to the offices where Kylstra was found dead on the ground.

Early last Thursday morning, homicide investigators who suspected Kim of murder conducted surveillance on his home and allegedly watched him loading large bags into the trunk of his car.

“A number of incriminating items were found inside of that bag including a Taser, a piece of cloth and paper towels consistent with what appears to be blood stains, the victim’s cell phone, wallet and laptop,” Swart wrote.

Kim is charged with murder, robbery, burglary, assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury and possession of stolen property.

He is being held without bail in County Jail, according to jail records.

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

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