Tragic news from Brooklyn today as a triple murder-suicide was reported that included members of two Iranian bands once friendly with each other.
As information continues to come in about the incident, it’s been reported 29-year-old Ali Akbar Mohammadi Raffie fatally shot brothers Soroush Farazmand and Arash Farazmand, members of the dance punk band Yellow Dogs, and their friend Ali Eskandarian this morning, also wounding bystander Sasan Sadeghpourosko with gunfire. Raffie then shot and killed himself.
Rolling Stone writes that the members of Yellow Dogs had emigrated to the U.S. from Iranian capital Tehran in 2011, and that the band’s other current members, Koory Mirz and Siavash Karampour, were not injured in this shooting. Raffie had been involved with band The Free Keys, and reports state the group was once a “sister band” to Yellow Dogs. Both bands were featured in the 2009 Iranian film No One Knows About Persian Cats, and Arash was once been a member of The Free Keys. Brooklyn Vegan has reported that Eskandarian had once been a singer for Yellow Dogs, and that in a 2011 interview with AltSounds, Eskandarian mentioned he’d lived for years, with both bands, in the same Brooklyn loft.
Rolling Stone also mentions how Yellow Dogs were included in a CNN piece on artists in the Middle East. In it, guitarist Karampour tells the interviewer, “They think I’m an anarchist,” speaking of how musicians who play rock music in their home country are considered “un-Islamic” and can be jailed or beaten for such activity.
Yellow Dogs and The Free Keys dissolved their relationship after a personal conflict last year, and manager Ali Salehezadeh said Raffie hadn’t spoken to the victims in months. The following is a direct statement from Salehezadeh:
The shooter was not a former member of the band The Yellow Dogs, he was in another band from Iran and the two groups were acquaintances in the past. A personal conflict between the guys resulted in the dissolution of their relationship in 2012. The shooting resulted in the death of two of the members of the Yellow Dogs, Sourosh Farazmand (guitarist) and Arash Farazmand (drummer), along with a friend of theirs, fellow musician and author Ali Eskandarian. The shooter died from a self inflicted bullet wound on site.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said detectives suspect the tragedy was over a money dispute, but that investigation continues on the case.