NEW YORK -- An Iranian rock musician 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 today.
Victims Soroush and Arash Farazmand, who were brothers, were the guitarist and drummer in the Yellow Dogs, a band that formed in Iran's capital and performed covertly before its members sought political asylum in the United States in 2010, their publicist Ashley Ayers said.
Their bodies were found early today in a house in the scruffy, semi-industrial neighborhood of East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, popular with musicians and artists, according to police.
Ali Eskandarian, described by the band publicist as a friend who also played music, was killed as well. All three had gunshot wounds to the head or chest.
The suspected gunman, whose identity police had not confirmed, was found dead on the roof of the building with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head and a rifle next to his body, police said.
He was an Iranian musician in another band and knew the Yellow Dogs from Tehran before they had a falling out, Ayers said.
“The two groups were acquaintances,” Ayers told Reuters. "There was a personal conflict between the guys. I know there was money involved,” she said, adding, “It was a small amount.”
All of the musicians were in their 20s and 30s.
A 22-year-old man, said by Ayers to be a member of the street art collective Iy and Sot that is made up of Iranian expatriates, was shot in the arm and taken to a hospital in stable condition, police said.
Earlier reports by local newspapers that the gunman was a former member of the Yellow Dogs were incorrect, Ayers said.
Ayers said the Yellow Dogs 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.”
“They are so humble and sweet and normal and just really nice guys and had a very interesting perspective on a lot of things, given their story,” Ayers said.
They came to the United States in 2010 and were thrilled to be in Brooklyn, where they frequently played local venues.
“They loved being here,” she said. “All they really wanted to do was to play.”
The band cites the Talking Heads, Joy Division and the Rapture as influences on its Facebook page. (Additional reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Maureen Bavdek, Ellen Wulfhorst and Leslie Adler)
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