They fled authoritarian censorship in Iran to seek rock stardom in Williamsburg but their quest came to a grisly end on Monday.
An indie rock musician shot and killed three members of the Iranian-bred punk-dance band The Yellow Dogs and wounded a roommate at the group’s Williamsburg apartment and practice space before turning the gun on himself early on Monday morning, cops said.
Police were called just after midnight to 318 Maujer St., between Waterbury Street and Morgan Avenue, and found one man shot in the arm outside the building. Upon entering, they encountered three men shot dead and, on the roof, the alleged gunman dead, laid out by a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, cops said.
The gunman, bassist Ali Rafie, 29, of Queens fatally shot Yellow Dogs guitarist Soroush Farazamand, his brother, drummer Arash Farazmand, and friend to the band and graffiti artist Ali Eskandarian, 35, and blasted roommate Sasan Sadeghpourosko, 22, twice in the arm.
Yellow Dogs singer Siavash Karampour and bassist Koory Mirzeai, who are now the only living members of the band, posted a message on their Facebook page late Monday night.
“Thanks every one for all your prayers and condolences,” they wrote. “We still can’t believe this tragedy.”
Sadeghpourosko was treated at Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens and later released, according to police, who would not confirm his identity.
Rafie played in the alt rock band Free Keys, according to the Post, and both bands hail from Iran, where music is heavily censored by the country’s theocratic government.
The Yellow Dogs’ struggle to play underground rock in a country where it is banned by the authorities was the subject of a 2009 CNN segment, in which the Free Keys’ Tehran practice space also makes an appearance. The Dogs moved to Brooklyn in 2010 after they were featured in another documentary about the Tehran music scene, the award-winning “No One Knows About Persian Cats,” and faced arrest for playing rock and roll. They were officially granted asylum in the United States last year, the New York Times reported.
Yellow Dogs lead singer Siavash Karampour and bassist Koory Mirz were not home at the time of the killing spree and escaped their band-mates’ bloody fate.
The group shared the Maujer Street crash pad with Iranian stencil artists Icy and Sot, according to a post on its Facebook page, and sometimes hosted shindigs on the same roof where Rafie reportedly ended his life, said friends. The murders sent shock-waves through the victims’ do-it-yourself music community.
“They were extremely warm, vibrant people,” said Max Goransson, bassist for the band Clouder. “They were very outgoing and energetic and had a lot of wild parties at their place.”
Another friend, who asked to remain anonymous, said that his band played several shows with the Yellow Dogs and that he often went to the compound on Maujer to catch up over beers.
“They were always willing to hang out and drink and talk about music,” said the musician.
The Yellow Dogs opened for the funk-punk band !!! at the Music Hall of Williamsburg last year and frequently headlined Brooklyn venues including the Brooklyn Bowl, Shea Stadium, and the Knitting Factory.