The crazed gunman who slaughtered three of his ex-bandmates in the Iranian rock group The Yellow Dogs had been bounced from the band for stealing, sources said Monday.
“He stole money and possibly equipment, and he didn’t live up to his end of the bargain,” a law enforcement source told The New York Post.
The band – which was profiled in a 2009 CNN feature on the underground rock scene in Tehran – came to the US in 2011, and the unidentified member was tossed out a year later, the source said.
Sources identified the gunman in the early Monday killing spree in Bushwick as Raefe Ahkbar.
He allegedly shot the band’s 27-year-old guitarist, Soroush Farazmand, in a second-floor bedroom
and then climbed to the third floor where he killed singer Ali Eskandarian, 35, and drummer Arash Farazmand.
He also allegedly shot Sasan Sadeghpourosko, 22, twice in the arm outside the building at 318 Maujer St., the official said. He was not believed to be in the band.
The band’s Facebook page identifies other members as guitarist Siavash Karampour and bassist Koory Mirz, who were not injured.
Sources said Ahkbar used a military-style, Century Sporter, .308 caliber rifle to fatally shoot the three ex-bandmates and wound the other man before he took his own life.
The killer angrily confronted one of the bandmates before the shootings, sources said.
“He said something like ‘Why did you bring me over here [from Iran] and then throw me out?’” a source said.
Singer Ali Eskandarian was shot dead on the third floor.
Neighbors were stunned by the carnage and had kind words for the band members.
“You always see them coming in and out of their house with their musical instruments in cases. They seemed like great kids, never bothered anybody.” said Martin Greenman, 63, a metal worker who works near the building where the shootings took place.
“They resembled each other with the curly black hair and the tight jeans. They looked like typical hipsters,” he said.
A neighbor reported hearing multiple gunshots.
“There were 45 shots in succession, they sounded like fireworks going off,” said Marcus Durant, 56, an electrician who lives nearby.
“There were three or four Iranian kids who looked like brothers. They would ride up and down the street on their skateboards and they were generally very pleasant kids.”
He said the band often played at raucous parties in their building.
“You can hear them playing their music on Friday night to Saturday nights. They sounded really good and it was never obnoxious, like club music. These guys were playing real rock ‘n roll,” Durant said.
The band is made up of Iranians who have been in the country for a while and were seeking asylum here, according to law enforcement sources.
A neighbor, who identified himself only as Frank, said the building had been the scene of many boisterous parties.
“During the summer it was ongoing, really loud parties with the street blocked off by gypsy cabs,’’ he said. “It was the usual hipster rave scene.’’
Yellow Dog’s Facebook page shows photos of the band playing at The Knitting Factory and, on Oct. 23, at Brooklyn Bowl.
In the 2009 CNN interview, the bandmates talk about dodging Iran’s repressive mullahs by playing in an insulated studio adorned with a poster of the Beatles and other rock memorabilia.
“The law has a problem with rock music, so we can’t play it” legally, one member said.
Monday morning, friends started offering condolences on social media.The band also appeared in a film about Iran’s forbidden rock scene, “No One Knows About Persian Cats,” which won a prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
“RIP to the band,” said Theresa Afzali on Facebook. “Please let this not be The Yellow Dogs … I’m really really upset about this,” tweeted Sahar Sarshar.
“omg… in shock over the Yellow Dogs tragedy. I’ve seen them live a few times,” according2g added on Twitter.