Howard County Police are still withholding the identity of a 15-year-old gunman who shot himself after fatally shooting a 16-year-old girl in her bedroom New Year's Day.
On Monday, the first day back from holiday break, students at the victim's high school banded together to mourn their slain classmate.
Howard High School students dressed in black for Charlotte Zaremba, who was a sophomore at the school. Even students who were not as close to the teen said they always saw her in the hallway smiling.
“To show that we cared about her and stuff,” said one student, explaining why she decided to wear black. “She was a good student and had a good heart,” the young woman said.
Another student said, “People are like really sad. The mood is just really low, and it’s really sad. People are, I don’t even know what to say.”
On top of the grief, many students are also concerned about who the 15-year-old gunman is.
Police said the suspect is from Ellicott City and remains in critical condition at Baltimore Shock Trauma. Investigators said the unidentified teen shot the victim’s mother, fatally shot Charlotte, and then turned the gun on himself. It happened at about 2 a.m. New Year’s Day inside Charlotte’s bedroom at the family’s home on Knoll Drive.
“The school will provide any support that’s needed. If parents have questions, certainly call the school,” said John White, the Howard County Public School System spokesperson. White said until a name is released, they will not know whether the suspect also was a Howard High School student.
“Obviously something very difficult to cope with considering these are young kids and they’ve built relationships over the years,” said high school parent, Felix Mendoza.
Sunday, ‘Tiny but mighty’ is how a martial arts sparring partner remembered her friend.
“She had a lot of like heart, and she showed it,” said Isabella Kushner.
On Monday, learned how much of a giving person Charlotte was. Not only did a family member say she helped build a playground bridge for kids in Africa, but that the teen was a member of Best Buddies, a program that helps students with special needs.
Howard High School’s principal issued a 2nd letter to parents and students on Monday, offering ways to help one another grieve:
Some suggestions for dealing with concerns you may have about your child are discussed below. You can also contact our counseling staff at 410-313-2871 if you have further questions or concerns about your child’s reaction to this sad news.Listen to your child’s story – Let your child know that you are available to answer any questions. You may not have all the answers to their questions, but they will benefit from your attention. Provide simple, accurate information in response to questions.
Encourage your child to express his or her feelings – Talk about your own feelings. Don’t be afraid to cry in his or her presence and share your own loss experiences. It is okay to cry together and hold each other.
Talk to your child about your personal value system around death and loss – Discuss your family’s personal and/or religious beliefs about death. Your child may be particularly anxious about the sudden realization that death ultimately happens to everyone and that death can come without warning.Support your child and be patient with his or her feelings in responding to this loss – Spend extra time tonight to be with your child discussing and processing the day’s events.
Howard County Police said they plan to have an update Tuesday morning.