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Musician shoots dead three band members in New York

The Iran musician opened fire on the members of the band in Brooklyn before shooting himself.

Image: Joel Ryan/PA

AN IRANIAN MUSICIAN opened fire on members of an Iranian rock band in New York, murdering three men and wounding a fourth before killing himself, police said.

Two of the deceased were 27- and 28-year-old brothers who belonged to the Yellow Dogs, an indie group that was formed in 2006 in Tehran and who came to the United States three years ago.

The musicians were found dead in a three-story Brooklyn building where the band lived and rehearsed on Monday.

Police said the shooter was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head on the roof next to a rifle shortly after midnight on Maujer Street in East Williamsburg.

A 22-year-old man was rushed to hospital with gunshot wounds in his right arm but is in a stable condition, police said.

Soroush Farazmand, 27, was found dead, shot in the chest on the second floor. His brother Arash Farazmand, 28, and singer Ali Eskandarian, 35, were found shot in the head on the third floor.

Police identified the shooter as 29-year-old Ali Akbar Mohammadi Rafie from Queens, New York. He was not a member of the band.

New York police commissioner Ray Kelly was quoted by local media as saying the shooter appeared to have been an Iranian-American musician, possibly from another band.

Yellow Dogs described itself as a dance-punk-psychedelic band and they perform in English, playing at notable venues on the circuit in New York and providing warm up for other acts.

Fans took to the band’s Facebook page to express shock and grief.

“What the hell! I’m still in shock. Can’t wrap my head around this tragedy,” wrote Faranak Karimpour.

“Horrible what’s happened to you. RIP,” said Roberta Rodriguez.

East Williamsburg is noted for its bohemian artists, middle class families looking, students and recent immigrants.


Three members of the band spoke of the troubles they had faced in Iran and their joy at living in New York on a video interview recorded last year and posted on YouTube.

“We want to travel and play music. That’s actually our passion, I think,” said singer and guitarist known as Obash.

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(Video: looloooooooooooo888/YouTube)

They met as teenagers and started playing as a hobby, but feared for their safety after taking part in a 2009 documentary about Iran’s underground music scene that won an award at Cannes.

The Islamic republic considers rock music against Islam.

The band said they used to soundproof their room in Tehran as well as they could but admitted they were lucky not to have been caught during performances for their friends.

“Brooklyn, I feel I fit in perfectly. You don’t feel like a foreigner in New York City at all,” Obash said on the video.

Unable to go back to Iran, they also spoke sadly about how their parents had never seen them play.

– © AFP, 2013

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