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Hollywood: Three Iranian Jews Murdered

Shooting deaths of three Iranian Jews in West Hollywood shrouded in mystery.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 9/1/2010, 3:39 AM / Last Update: 9/1/2010, 3:35 AM

Three Iranian Jews living in Los Angeles were found murdered inside their apartment last Thursday, according to a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s report.

The three victims were identified as Pirooz Moussazadeh, 27; his brother, Shahriar Moussazadeh, 38; and Bernard Khalili, 27. The sheriff’s report said that deputies arrived at a West Hollywood apartment a little after 9pm following calls to 911 from neighbors who had reported hearing a series of gunshots.

Though police told the Beverly Hills Courier that the victims were “targeted by assailants seeking something from one or more of the victims,” a Los Angeles Times report said that detectives had found no sign of forced entry, drugs or weapons in the apartment.

In 2008, Khalili's sister Bianca died after falling from a high-rise. Her death was ruled a suicide, but rumors of foul play have circulated among the Iranian immigrant community.

Pooya Dayanim, president of the Iranian Jewish Public Affairs Committee, told the Courier: “Our community is shocked by the needless murder of three members of the Iranian Jewish community. I urge the Los Angeles Police Department, the coroner's office, the FBI and all other law enforcement agencies to use all tools at their disposal to fully investigate this tragedy and apprehend the perpetrator(s) of this triple murder.”

The Iranian Jewish community in Los Angeles has its own synagogue, the Nessah Synagogue. Since the murders the synagogue’s Rabbi David Shofet has cautioned community members to refrain from gossiping about the case.

“This is the worst tragedy in our community in the last 30 years,” said synagogue president Mehdi Soroudi. “We all feel the pain of these two families and pray for their peace. Before his sermon this Saturday, Rav David briefly said something that I agree with fully— that we do not know what has happened and therefore it’s not wise for anyone to make speculations or pass judgment.”

Sheriff Deputy Jeff Gordon assured that police was doing everything in their power to locate suspects. “Sheriff's homicide detectives are actively investigating the homicides of these three men and are seeking the suspect(s) responsible,” he said.