A rock musician killed three people, shooting them in the head and chest, before turning a high-powered assault rifle on himself early this morning in the East Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, N.Y., police said.
A fifth person was taken to a hospital with gunshot wounds to the arm.
The victims and the gunman were all Iranian expatriates and at least two are members of The Yellow Dogs, a self-described “psychedelic/ dance post-punk” band.
Initial reports suggested that the gunman was a member of the band, but cops and the band’s manager say the shooter, though a musician who had performed with the group, was not a full-fledged member of The Yellow Dogs.
“The gunman was not part of the band. He was in another band. They played together a couple times last year. But he was not part of The Yellow Dogs band,” the group’s manager Ali Salehezadeh told ABC affiliate WABC-TV.
Police arrived at the scene just after 4 a.m. today. On the second floor “a 27-year-old white male was discovered with a gunshot wound to the chest. On the third floor, a 35-year-old white male was discovered with a gunshot wound to the head as well as an additional adult white male, also with a gunshot wound to the head,” an NYPD spokesman told ABCNews.com.
The shooter “was discovered with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head on the roof of the location. A firearm (rifle) was recovered next to the suspect’s body,” the police statement said.
The gunman and victims are all believed to be Iranian expats and indie rock musicians. Their names were not immediately released.
The gunman was a bass player who has performed with the group, but had a falling out with them a year ago over missing money and equipment, police said.
One of the victim is a singer, who was also not a regular member of the Yellow Dogs but had performed with the group, police said.
The band’s Facebook page lists the members by first names only as Obash, Koory, Looloosh and Arash.
Members of the band fled Iran in 2009 and received asylum in the U.S. last year. Playing modern music is outlawed in Iran and band members said they believed their lives would be at risk were they to return there.
“We can’t go back to Iran,” the singer Obash said in a video interview posted to YouTube last year.
The band was featured in a documentary called “No One Knows About Persian Cats,” about Iranian mullahs unwilling to grant rock musicians visas to play overseas. The film was honored at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009.
According to reports, the success of the movie put them on the radar of Iranian cultural authorities and the members decided to flee the country.
Since arriving in the U.S., the band has played at several prominent venues, including New York City’s the Knitting Factory, and festivals including South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.