The Yellow Dogs band members killed in Brooklyn by fellow musician, NYPD says

From left to right: Yellow Dogs musicians Koroush

From left to right: Yellow Dogs musicians Koroush Mirzaei, Arash Farazmand, Siavash Karampour and Soroush Farazmand during a 2012 photo shoot in Brooklyn. (Credit: Danny Krug)

A rock musician, angered after being dropped by his band, shot to death three men in Brooklyn early Monday, including two brothers who fled Iran seeking music stardom in the United States, police said.

The gunman then killed himself, police said, adding that an assault rifle was found near his body.

The NYPD identified the shooter as Ali Akbar Mohammadi Rafie, 29, of Ridgewood, Queens.


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The brothers, a guitarist and drummer in the indie band The Yellow Dogs, were identified by the NYPD as Arash Farazmand, 28, and Soroush Farazmand, 27. The other victim shot and killed in the Williamsburg row house was identified by police as Ali Eskandarian, 35. The Farazmand brothers joined the rock band and came to the United States from Iran in 2010. A fourth man was shot in the shoulder but survived, police said.

Rafie had been angry and depressed after being kicked out of the Free Keys, another Iranian band, last year, "apparently over stealing money," a police spokesman said. He went to the building, at 318 Maujer St., shortly after midnight toting an assault rifle, police said.

The house served as a practice and living space for the band, manager Ali Salehezadeh said Monday. Rafie knew the band members but had not spoken to them in months, Salehezadeh said. The other band members, a bass player and singer, weren't home at the time of the shootings, the band's manager said.

Police said the gunman went to a third-floor landing, where he fired through a window and killed Eskandarian, who was in the living room, police said. The gunman then entered a third-floor bedroom and killed Arash Farazmand, police said.

He then went to the second floor where he shot and killed Soroush Farazmand in a bedroom, police said. He then fired several shots down a hallway at two other men, hitting one in the shoulder and arm but missing the other, police said.

The shooter returned to the third floor, where he confronted a bandmate with the Free Keys, police said. The pair struggled before Rafie fled to the building's roof, where he turned the rifle on himself, police said.

The wounded man was released from a hospital Monday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Word of the killings spread quickly in Brooklyn's tightly knit indie rock community. The Yellow Dogs members said they fled the stifling culture of Iran for the streets of New York City and a chance at rock stardom.

The band, which had described its music as part dance, part psychedelic, came to the United States to play in an open society, Salehezadeh said.

"You can't be a rock star in Iran," Salehezadeh said. "It's against cultural law. You can't grow there as a band . . . They wanted to be known for their music. Now we're not going to get to do that."

J. Edward Keyes, a Patchogue native who now lives in Brooklyn and runs the emusic.com music website, said he first saw the band live in 2011, "and I was blown away by them."

"They had a level of energy. They had a commitment to the music," Keyes said. "Some bands get jaded fast, but they remained vibrant."

With Anthony M. DeStefano, Ivan Pereira, Glenn Gamboa

and AP

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