Two surviving members of the Iranian indie band Yellow Dogs said Monday's bloody shooting rampage in Brooklyn that killed the group's drummer and guitarist won't stop them from making music.
"We will not let this disgusting brutality define us or our story, but instead respond by creating music more passionately and with more intensity than ever before," said Siavash Karampour and Koory Mirzeai in a joint written statement released Wednesday.
Band members and brothers Soroush and Arash Farazmand, as well as fellow musician Ali Eskandarian, were shot to death early Monday by another Iranian musician inside the East Williamsburg row house that doubled as the band's rehearsal space.
Ali Akbar Mohammadi Rafie, 29, a member of the Iranian rock group the Free Keys until he was kicked out of the band about a year ago, shot the three with an assault rifle and then climbed to the building's rooftop where he turned the gun on himself, police said. A fourth man in the house was shot in the shoulder but survived, police said.
Soroush Farazmand was 24, his brother Arash, was 28, and vocalist Eskandarian was 35. A memorial for the three musicians is being planned, said the publicist for Yellow Dogs, Ashley Ayers. Karampour and Mirzeai said Rafie was forced out of the Free Keys, which had close ties with Yellow Dogs, over "personal and musical differences" and that it became clear he wasn't a good fit in the music world with that band.
Police said Rafie wanted to get back into the band and killed the three when his overtures were rejected. Investigators also said there were allegations that Rafie had a dispute with his old band over money.
Yellow Dogs and the Free Keys met in Iran in 2006 and became vibrant parts of that country's rock underground, Karampour and Mirzeai said.
In 2010, Yellow Dogs came to the United States. They were followed by Free Keys about a year later, according to the statement. The two bands took up residence in the building on Maujer Street in Brooklyn and formed a creative collective, according to Karampour and Mirzeai.
In interviews posted online, the Farazmand brothers had said they came to the United States because Iran's repressive culture forbid them from openly playing their music.
Karampour, 24, and Mirzeai, 26, said, "These are the darkest hours of our lives, we are in shock, awe, blinded with rage and paralyzed with grief."