Members of Iranian rock band slain in Brooklyn shooting

Members of Iranian rock band slain in Brooklyn shooting
Drummer Arash Farazmand of indie band the Yellow Dogs performs at the Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg neighbourhood in New York, in this handout picture taken last week and released to Reuters on November 11, 2013.

NEW YORK - An Iranian rock musician who had been kicked out of his band in New York shot dead three people, including two members of an indie band who had fled Tehran, and wounded a fourth man before killing himself in Brooklyn, authorities said on Monday.

Two of the victims, Soroush Farazmand, 27, and Arash Farazmand, 28, were brothers who had performed as the Yellow Dogs in Tehran in defiance of the authorities in the Islamic republic before fleeing to the United States in 2010 and winning political asylum, according to Ali Salehezadeh, their manager and roommate.

Their bodies were found early on Monday in the house they shared in the scruffy, semi-industrial neighbourhood of East Williamsburg in Brooklyn, in the heartland of a music scene they revered and had once tried to emulate in Iran.

Ali Eskandarian, 35, a friend who this year toured with the band as a guest vocalist, was killed as well. All three had gunshot wounds to the head or chest.

The body of the suspected killer, Ali Akbar Mohammadi Rafie, 29, was found on the roof of the building with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head and a rifle next to his body, police said.

The Yellow Dogs, who cited the Talking Heads and Joy Division as influences, were a pioneering part of an underground independent rock scene in Tehran, and their struggles with the authorities' disapproval was featured in a 2009 documentary, "No One Knows About Persian Cats."

Rafie was an Iranian musician who police and others say was kicked out of his band, the Free Keys, about a year ago. He knew the Yellow Dogs from Tehran, but the men had had a falling out, according to Salehezadeh.

"When he was kicked out of his own band, we pretty much cut all relations with him, we weren't really friends with him," Salehezadeh, who has been travelling in Brazil, said in a telephone interview on his way to the airport. He said he was struggling to come up with a possible motive for the killings.

"I don't know if he came to get them or to get all of us or to get revenge because one of the members of Free Keys lives with us as well," he said.

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