A photo of his Moscow elementary school graduation sits next to a prom photo from Montgomery County. Cards from families and friends surround a picture of the teenager’s junior varsity lacrosse team, as Russian Orthodox icon prayer cards are arranged on a table in the living room.
Artem Ziberov was just a day away from his high school graduation, three days from his 19th birthday. His family said the honor roll student was hit by 10 bullets for no reason – killed in the passenger seat of his friend’s car.
Hours after police arrested three suspects in the murder of Ziberov and fellow Northwest High School student Shadi Adi Najjar, Ziberov’s mother and stepfather began their first Father’s Day without their son, preparing to bring his body to Russia early Monday.
“We came to America in 2009, and now I just think after what happened, we need to do something more to protect our children,” mother Julia Tewelow said in an interview Sunday. “I think we need no guns on our streets. They all need to be outlawed.”
She spoke on the kitchen phone to family members 10 hours away, preparing to stay in Russia for 40 days of mourning. Her son was set to attend the University of Maryland this fall, using his fluency in Russian to help his major in international relations.
But as they prepared to travel to Moscow, Ziberov’s parents said they have unanswered questions surrounding their son’s slaying, and heightened concerns about one of the suspects now in custody.
“We were told one guy was part of a shooting in February nearby,” stepfather William Tewelow said in an interview. “Why was he still on the streets to kill our son, up until this very weekend?”
Jose Canales-Yanez, 25, was identified in a Washington Post report Sunday as connected to a Feb. 10 shooting close to where Ziberov and Najjar were murdered June 5.
Police also arrested Edgar Garcia-Gaona, 24, and his brother Roger Garcia, 19, in the shooting deaths of the Northwest High School students. All three suspects are expected to appear before a Montgomery County judge facing first degree murder charges Monday afternoon.