An indie rock band who transplanted themselves from Iran to Brooklyn is at the center of a still developing murder-suicide incident that has left four people dead.
The New York Times is reporting that early Monday morning, a gunman opened fire on Soroush Farazmand, Arash Farazmand, and Ali Eskandarian, three members of the Yellow Dogs, a group of Iranian expatriates who began in Tehran and had been operating out of a townhouse in the East Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.
The assailant then turned the weapon on himself. The Wall Street Journal identified the shooter as Raefe Ahkbar, who was reportedly dismissed from the band for selling equipment.
Guitarist Soroush Farazmand, 27, and drummer Arash Farazmand, 28 were killed, along with their friend and fellow musician Ali Eskandarian, 35. Sasan Sadeghpourosko, 22, was shot twice in his right arm and is in stable condition. Two members, vocalist and guitarist Siavash ‘Obash’ Karampour, 24, and bassist Koory Mirzeai, 26, were not involved in the shooting.
The Yellow Dogs formed in Tehran and stayed largely underground in order to avoid the ire of the Iranian government. They moved to Brooklyn several years ago, fearing retaliation after being gaining wider exposure in Nobody Knows About Persian Cats, which won the Special Jury Prize at Cannes in 2009, and were in the process of seeking asylum in the United States.
The band performed at SXSW, supported well-known indie bands including !!!, and performed at rising-act venues like San Franciso’s Great American Music Hall, Chicago’s Empty Bottle; and New York’s Brooklyn Bowl and Glasslands.
Learn more about them and their history in the video below.
UPDATE: Per the band manager’s statement via Pitchfork, the man who opened fire was a musician in another band acquainted with The Yellow Dogs:
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.