In an act of violence that has rocked the indie music community, a gunman shot and killed three members of Brooklyn-based post-punk band The Yellow Dogs in a three-story building in East Williamsburg early Monday morning before turning the gun on himself.
Details of the act have remained sketchy, but here is what the Wall Street Journal is reporting: the victims were brothers Saroush and Arash Farazmand (27 and 28, respectively) and 35-year-old Ali Eskandarian, who was apparently not an official member of the band but who had recently been performing with them. The gunman was identified as Ali Akbar Mohammedi Rafie, 29, a former member of a colleague band Free Keys. Rafie had been ejected from the band, at which point the members of The Yellow Dogs had also cut ties with him.
Both bands originated in Iran’s underground rock movement, and had sought asylum in the United States. The Yellow Dogs were featured in the 2009 film No One Knows About Persian Cats, which won an award at Cannes International Film Festival. They had begun to gain acclaim in the U.S. and played at South By Southwest in Austin in 2011.
According to reports, Rafie accessed the building shortly after midnight on November 11, and began shooting various victims on several floors. Eskandrian and Arash Farazmond were found dead on the third floor with gunshots to the head; Soroush Farazmond was found on the second floor. Another person in the building suffered two gunshots to the arm, but was treated at a local hospital and released. Several others in the building were threatened but not hurt.
When he had finished the rampage, Rafie reportedly went onto the roof and shot himself.