Two male teens are dead after they were found shot in a car the night before their high school graduation, police in Maryland said Tuesday.
Shadi Adi Najjar, 17, and Artem Ziberov, 18, both of Germantown, were supposed to graduate alongside their Northwest High School classmates Tuesday.
Instead Principal Jimmy D'Andrea addressed the seniors' killing at graduation Tuesday evening saying, "while we are here today to celebrate this momentous time in the lives of our graduates and their families, we have heavy heart given the recent loss yesterday evening of two of our seniors."
At graduation, D'Andrea said Najjar and Ziberov "would want us to move forward today and celebrate."
The principal also said he spoke with Ziberov's mother and she said, "I hope everyone has a great celebration today."
After a 911 caller reported hearing shots fired in a leafy neighborhood of single-family homes in Montgomery Village on Monday night arund 10:46 p.m., officers found the two with gunshot wounds in a parked car in the 8200 block of Gallery Court, Montgomery County police said. Both died at the scene. Police are awaiting a medical examiner's report.
Investigators are still gathering information about the circumstances surrounding the shooting, police spokesman Capt. Paul Starks said. The county saw 15 homicides last year.
"Two at once is shocking and tragic," Starks said.
In an e-mail to parents of students at Northwest High School, Najjar and Ziberov were described as "excellent students who had a positive impact on those around them and they will be greatly missed."
This is the e-mail message I just sent to all parents. Incredibly sad. pic.twitter.com/T5stPUAzJw— Jimmy D'Andrea (@NorthwestJags) June 6, 2017
Ziberov's stepfather couldn't bear to be on camera Tuesday night, but talked to WUSA9's Delia Goncalves about his only son, an eagle scout, who was headed to UMD. He was a bright student with numerous awards, his father told WUSA9. He was in the National Honors Society, earned a presidential academic and AP award. But most importantly, his dad said, Ziberov was a kind and loving young man, who was well-loved by his family and friends.
MCP's Major Crimes Division is conducting the investigation. Detectives are asking anyone who may have information about the double homicide to call 240-773-5070. Crime Solvers of Montgomery County is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for details that lead to an arrest. Tipsters can remain anonymous.