Yellow Dogs band shooting: Man 'kicked out of indie rock group' shoots band members with assault rifle and then himself

Police say one man, now thought to be an artist rather than a musician, survived attack and is stable in hospital

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The Independent US

A man who was kicked out of an indie rock band in Brooklyn shot three musicians and an artist and then killed himself, police in New York have said.

Police have now identified the shooter as Ali Akbar Mahammadi Rafie, a 29-year-old musician. Officers said they believed Rafie had brought an assault rifle hidden in a guitar case to the house in the Williamsburg neighbourhood, where he then had an argument with a member of his former US-Iranian band the Free Keys. ,

Rafie was reportedly "upset that he wasn't in the band anymore", according to police.

Two of the victims were brothers, and members of the Yellow Dogs - a group which came to the US three years ago after appearing in a film about the Iranian underground music scene.

A fourth man, believed to be an artist, was injured in the incident which occurred shortly after midnight on Monday morning, but was described as stable in hospital.

Police arrived at the house on Monday morning to reports of a shooting, and found a 27-year-old man with a gunshot wound to the chest on the second floor.

Two more men were found shot in the head on the floor above, one a 35-year-old and another whose age was not known.

The gunman was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head and a rifle next to his body, officers said. The fifth man, aged 22, suffered a bullet wound to the arm.

None of the victims' names were released, but police said they had all moved to the US from Iran in the past few years in a bid to gain greater musical freedom.

It wasn't immediately clear why Rafie opened fire on members of another band, although musicians in both groups knew each other and some lived in the same building, the Yellow Dogs manager Ali Salehezadeh said.

Rafie knew his victims but he hadn't spoken to them in months because of a “very petty conflict,” Salehezadeh said, declining to give specifics.

“There was a decision not to be around each other,” Salehezadeh said. “They were never that close to begin with. ... This was nothing. We thought it was all behind us.”

The incident happened in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn, in a row of warehouse-style buildings famous for their use as studios by artists, musicians and performers. 

Martin Greenman, 63, works around the corner from the shootings and said he would see the band members coming and going with their instruments.

"They seemed really nice, not violent or anything, just your typical guys," he said. "They never caused any trouble. I see them almost every day, it's really a shock."

The group had played recent gigs on the New York indie rock scene at venues like the Knitting Factory and Brooklyn Bowl.

On their Twitter feed, the Yellow Dogs described themselves as "a Post Punk/Dance Punk band from Tehran/IRAN, living in Brooklyn at the moment".