Slain Yellow Dogs members were not alone in building: NYPD chief
As fans and friends mourned the loss of three beloved Brooklyn musicians, the NYPD continued to investigate exactly how the shooting that took the lives of three members of the Iranian band The Yellow Dogs went down.
The suspected shooter, identified by police as 29-year-old Ali Akbar Mohammadi Rafie, showed up at 318 Maujer St. in Brooklyn a little after midnight Monday wielding an assault rifle.
Police found a guitar case on the roof of the building, which they believe may have been used to carry the murder weapon. They also found a spent shell casing on a terrace on the third floor. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the NYPD investigation indicated that the shooter fired his first round through the third floor window into a living room.
Bandmember Ali Eskandarian, 35, was found in the third floor living room shot in the head. Arash Farazmand, 28, was found face-down in a third-floor bedroom with a gunshot wound to the head. Sorough Farazmand, 27, was found face-up in a second floor bedroom, shot in the chest.
The shooter shot at a fourth victim, 22-year-old Sasan Sadeghpouroskou, but only injured him, Kelly said. Police said Sadeghpouroskou was with his 28-year-old brother in a room blocked by some sort of curtain in place of a door. Police believe Rafie shot through the curtained doorway, striking the 22-year-old brother in the arm and elbow, but missing the older brother. The two brothers called 911 and fled the building, meeting responding officers outside to inform them they heard the shooter heading back up to the third floor.
An additional man up on the third floor, 28 years old and as yet unidentified by police, told investigators he heard gunshots and hid in his closet. He said the shooter barged into his bedroom, kicked open the closet door and told him he was going to kill him.
The 28-year-old tried to reason with the shooter, he told police, but the shooter started firing.
Kelly said the 28-year-old then tried to wrest the gun away from the shooter. The magazine fell out of the assault rifle, but the shooter grabbed it and ran up to the roof of the building, where police said he shot himself in the head.
Responding officers arrived at the building just in time to hear a single shot, which they believe was the shot that killed Rafie. He was found on the roof with a .308 caliber assault rifle on his chest. A magazine, one shell casing, and two live rounds lay beside him.
Sadeghpouroskou, the 911 caller shot twice in the right arm and elbow, was taken to Elmhurt Hospital in stable condition. Kelly expected he would be treated and released within the day.
Kelly said the NYPD believes the shooting stemmed from a dispute over money. Earlier police reports indicated Rafie was a former bandmember who was angry at having been kicked out of the band six months to a year ago.
Kelly said that part of the story is still hazy, although police believe he may have been kicked out of a different band called The Free Keys before The Yellow Dogs formed, or which may have had overlapping members.
The gun found on Rafie’s chest on the roof was a .308 caliber assault weapon that police believe was purchased in upstate New York, Kelly said. It is apparently a foreign-made weapon and has the words “Century Arms” inscribed on it. Kelly said that is the name of a weapons importer, not a weapons manufacturer.
Police said the gun was not stolen, and was purchased from Adrian Arms in New City, N.Y., before 2006. Adrian Arms closed in 2006.
The gun carried as many as 20 rounds, Kelly said. Such weapons are banned in New York City.
Kelly confirmed there were two other people, a man and a woman, in the building when the shooting took place, who were apparently members of the Coast Guard or Coast Guard Reserve in town for Veterans Day.
Police said the couple in their 20s were visiting from Puerto Rico, renting a room in the building. They were in the bathroom at the time of the shooting, and told police they heard 10 to 15 shots fired. One bullet was fired through the bathroom door, police said. The couple was uninjured.
The police commissioner said he spoke with the Coast Guard leadership and the couple are at a Coast Guard facility waiting for the NYPD to finish with the crime scene so they can re-enter the premises and get their belongings.
Corrections: An earlier version of this article referred to suspected shooter Ali Akbar Mohammadi Rafie as Raefe Ahkbar and Aliakbar. The band The Free Keys was referred to as The Freakies.
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