Indie Rocker Allegedly Kills Three Fellow Brooklyn Musicians, Turns Gun On Himself

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 11 2013 12:58 PM

Indie Rocker Allegedly Kills Three Fellow Brooklyn Musicians, Turns Gun On Himself

Update at 3:26 p.m.: The police now say that only two of the victims were members of the Yellow Dogs. The alleged gunman and the third person he shot and killed were also musicians, but not part of the same band. The suspected gunman, Yello Dogs band manager Ali Salehezadeh told the Associated Press, was a member of another band from Iran, the Free Keys, who knew the victims but was no longer on speaking terms with them because of a "very petty conflict."

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Original Post: An ex-member of an Iranian rock band that was living in the United States killed three of his former bandmates and wounded another in Brooklyn early this morning, according to police. Here's the Wall Street Journal with the details:

Carrying a .308 caliber rifle, Raefe Ahkbar–who police said is also known as Aliakbar–allegedly moved floor-by-floor through the three-story building in the East Williamsburg neighborhood, fatally striking three members of the Yellow Dogs and injuring a fifth person before shooting himself on the rooftop, the official said. The rifle was located next to the gunman’s body. ...
Police received a call of shots fired at building shortly after midnight and arrived to find a sprawling crime scene. Mr. Ahkbar first allegedly killed the 27-year-old guitarist Soroush Farazmand, who was found face-up in a second-floor bedroom with a gunshot wound to chest, the official said. He then allegedly moved to the third floor, where the band’s 35-year-old singer Ali Eskandarian and drummer Arash Farazmand were both found with gunshot wounds to the head, the official said. Mr. Farazmand’s age was not immediately clear.

Ahkbar also allegedly shot 22-year-old Sasan Sadeghpourosko twice in his right arm, the official said. Sadeghpourosko was transported to a local hospital where he was listed in stable condition. Police haven't yet identified a possible motive, but say that Ahkbar appears to have been kicked out of the band some time in the past year for allegedly selling some of the band's equipment without the rest of the group's knowledge.

If the band's name sounds familiar, it is probably because they were featured in No One Knows About Persian Cats, a 2009 documentary about Iran's underground indie rock scene that won a special jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival that year. Shortly after, the band relocated to the United States, where several members were reportedly granted asylum. Below is one of their official music video, and an interview the band did with CNN before they moved to the United States.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. Follow him on Twitter.