Mysterious Murder of Iranian Activist in Houston

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Police in Houston are investigating the mysterious murder of a medical student who was also well-known locally as an Iranian activist.

Police say 30-year old Gelareh Bagherzadeh was driving through her townhouse complex around midnight on Monday when a bullet smashed through her window.

"Homicide investigators responded to the scene and were told by witnesses that several gunshots were heard, a crash and then tires squealing," police said in a statement. "When officers arrived, they found a vehicle had run into a garage door at that location with the engine running and tires spinning on the pavement. Ms. Bagherzadeh was found slumped over in the driver's seat."

It appears Bagherzadeh was on the phone with her ex-boyfriend when she was shot.

"[The boyfriend] heard a loud thud. He doesn't recall hearing any gunshots, but a loud thud and then a screeching noise," Richard Bolton of the Houston Police Department Homicide unit told KTRK-TV.

The woman's purse and cell phone were in the car, so robbery does not appear to be a motive.

Bagherzadeh was outspoken about promoting Iranian women's rights and spoke out against the Iranian government in several newspaper interviews. But police don't think there was a motive there, either.

"It's not believed that she was targeted because of her ethnicity or because she was an activist," Houston Police Department spokesman Victor Senties told

"They're still in the process of investigating," Senties said. "We're still trying to question anyone that might know her or might know if there was someone that wanted to harm her."

Bagherzadeh was studying molecular genetic technology at the Texas Medical Center.

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