TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A pair of gunmen opened machinegun fire on Saturday in the southwestern Iranian city of Abadan, killing the brother of the owner of a tower that collapsed there earlier this year, the state-run IRNA news agency reported.
The May 23 collapse at the Metropol Building, some 660 kilometers (410 miles) from the capital of Tehran, killed 41 people and dredged up painful memories of past national disasters in Iran. It also triggered street protests in Abadan over the collapse, demonstrations that saw police club protesters and fire tear gas.
The fate of the building’s owner, Hossein Abdolbaghi, has been the subject of much speculation — from initial reports that he had been arrested to rumors that left the country. Official media in Iran said he died in the collapse.
IRNA’s report said Abdolbaghi’s brother Majid was gunned down on Saturday in “an assassination” and died of severe injuries from multiple gunshots.
A video on social media shows Majid’s killing. He is seen at the parking lot outside his home in Abadan when a white car stops by the gate. A gunman gets out and opens fire from his machinegun. A second gunman shoots from inside the car.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for Saturday’s slaying.
After the Metropol collapse, authorities arrested 11 suspects in a widening probe, including the city’s mayor. Over the weeks that followed, videos on social media showed protest gatherings in Abadan, with protesters often blaming the owner for the collapse.
The deadly collapse raised questions about the safety of similar buildings in the country and underscored an ongoing crisis in Iranian construction projects that has seen other disasters amid allegations of government negligence and deeply rooted corruption.