The two surviving members of the Iranian indie rock band that lost two bandmates in a triple-murder homicide in Brooklyn said Wednesday that they are "in shock, awe, blinded with rage and paralyzed with grief" over the bloody rampage committed Monday by a former member of another underground group from Iran.
In a statement released Wednesday, the Yellow Dogs bandmates shed new light on the relationship between the victims and Ali Akbar Mohammadi Rafie, the man police say killed two brothers who played in their group and another musician before fatally shooting himself on the roof of the victims' East Williamsburg apartment Monday morning. A fourth person in the apartment was shot in the arm but is expected to survive.
Siavash "Obash" Karampour and Koory Mirzeai, the two surviving members of Yellow Dogs, said the musician they called "Rafi" became a member of their circle after he was invited to join Free Keys, another underground rock band that followed Yellow Dogs' footsteps by moving from Tehran to America in 2011. The relationship between Rafie and frequent collaborators Free Keys and Yellow Dogs quickly soured, as "personal and musical differences" led Free Keys to end the partnership, according to the statement.
"It became clear very quickly that he was not a natural fit within our group of friends, and his personal views conflicted with our approach to our art and to the world," Karampour and Mirzeai said in the statement, which was drafted with the help of the band's manager, friends and a member of Free Keys. "A few months later, both bands severed ties completely with Rafi and in the 14 months since then, we’ve had no contact with him at all."
Police said Tuesday that they believe Rafie was "despondent" over no longer being in the band when he ambushed his former friends at their East Williamsburg rowhouse with a Spanish-made assault weapon and more than 100 rounds of ammunition, killing brothers and Yellow Dogs bandmates Arash Farazmand and Soroush Farazmand and Ali Eskandarian, an Iranian-American singer-songwriter who lived in an upstairs apartment. He then went to the roof and shot himself in the head.
The murders came at a time "everything we had hoped and worked for was finally coming true," the bandmates said in the statement, noting that Arash Farazmand had just been granted poltical asylum from Iran and the other victims were working on new music and a memoir. The shooting, they said, has left them "with pain, emptiness and so many questions that won’t ever be answered."
"Three days later, we’re still here, still breathing but with a gaping hole in our hearts. For now it’s impossible to even imagine a future without our friends, and no explanation can make sense or begin to justify what has happened to our lives," the statement reads. "To say we are heartbroken does not come close. These are the darkest hours of our lives, we are in shock, awe, blinded with rage and paralyzed with grief"
The remaining members of Yellow Dogs, which was the subject of a 2009 semi-fictional film about an underground rock band, "No One Knows about Persian Cats," and their fellow musicians pledged to honor their friends' memories by continuing to play.
"We will not let this disgusting brutality define us or become our story, but instead respond by creating music more passionately and with more intensity than ever before," they said, "embracing the freedom that we all dreamed would one day be ours back in Iran and play to honor those who should be playing next to us."
A memorial service for the victim will be announced shortly. Donations in their memory can be made at this link.