Thursday, November 14, 2013

"Bloody Rampage"

I so admire the work that Joe Nocera and Jennifer Mascia are doing with their unflagging reporting on gun violence in America.  It has to be a difficult task - gathering this data and writing every day about lives that have been cut short by guns and the people who have them.  Children, mothers, grandmothers, and singer-songwriters.  I have to believe that their work will make a difference.  

November 13, 2013, 9:00 am
The Gun Report: November 13, 2013

Ali Eskandarian
The victims of gun violence we write about in this space are strangers. We feel for their plight and empathize with their loved ones, but we do not know them. That changed for me on Monday, when I pulled up the Times home page and read about the death of someone I knew.

Ali Eskandarian, 35, the first victim of a bloody rampage that claimed two other lives, was a soulful singer and songwriter whose music was colored with an earnest, controlled intensity. Though he was often compared to Bob Dylan and Jeff Buckley, he sounded like no one else. His voice soared, his warm eyes bored into you, his smile enveloped you.

I came to know Ali because his girlfriend was a friend of mine, who worked with me on the Metro desk of the Times. He wrote a song for her, in my opinion one of his best. I’d visit their apartment abutting Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, where he doted on her and poured us Glenfiddich. He saw to it that everyone had whatever they needed, be it hummus or cigarettes or good conversation.

Earlier this year, Ali became a guest vocalist for The Yellow Dogs, a band comprised of Iranian expatriates. Two other members of the band, who were brothers, were also shot and killed in their Brooklyn, N.Y., townhouse early Monday. In an interview with the group, Ali was described as the group’s “missing puzzle part.” Though he had 
lived in Tehran as a child, he was born in Pensacola, Fla., and spent his adolescence in Dallas, Tex. He moved to New York in 2003. (Photo: Gabriella Fellet
The Yellow Dogs)

Ali Akbar Mohammadi Rafie, 29, the perpetrator of Monday’s massacre, used a Century Arms .308-caliber assault rifle of Spanish origin that he carried up to the roof of the victims’ townhouse in a guitar case. According to this recent listing on Armslist, it retails for about $1,000. He had five magazines containing 100 rounds of ammunition. He fired the gun more than a dozen times before using it on himself. The N.Y.P.D. traced the gun to a store in upstate New York that went out of business in 2006. Rafie arrived in the United States from Tehran in 2011, leaving open the question of how he came to acquire the gun.

Here is today’s report.
—Jennifer Mascia

Four people were found dead, including the gunman, in a domestic shooting inPhoenix, Ariz., Tuesday night. Police believe the shooter, a 50-year-old man, shot and killed his estranged wife in the backyard of their home before setting her body on fire. The body of the man’s teenage daughter was found inside the home, and the body of another man, a friend of the gunman’s wife, was found in the driveway.

For the remaining pages of this report, go to:
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