2 High School Seniors Shot to Death Night Before Graduation

Funeral for 17-year-old victim held at Islamic Society of Germantown

Twenty-three shots from two guns were fired at the car in which two high school seniors were found dead Monday, the night before their graduation, sources told News4.

Shadi Adi Najjar, 17, and Artem Ziberov, 18, are remembered as "excellent students who had a positive impact." They were scheduled to graduate from Northwest High School in Germantown, Maryland, Tuesday afternoon, school officials said. 

But hours before the teens were set to walk across the stage, police found their bodies inside Najjar's Honda Civic parked but still running in the 8200 block of Gallery Court in Montgomery Village, about five miles from their neighborhood. One of the victims was found clutching a $20 bill.

Officers went to the quiet residential street after a neighbor reported hearing gunshots about 10:46 p.m. Monday.

"My wife and I thought we heard someone hammering something, and it just didn't make any sense around 10:30," one neighbor said.

Another neighbor said his surveillance camera picked up the sound of the barrage of gunfire. Faintly, a car can be heard driving away from the area.

"May God punish who did this to my son. I'm sure the police will find who killed my boy," Najjar's father, Adi Najjar, said Tuesday, clutching his son's cap and gown.

Mourners spilled out of the Islamic Society of Germantown and into the parking lot for Shadi Najjar's funeral Wednesday.

“Cold-blooded murder, that’s what it is,” said Najjar’s uncle, Ammar Najjar, the imam at the Islamic Society. “Whoever shot him, looks like they didn’t want him to live. They did it with the intention to kill this young boy just one day before his graduation.”

Shadi Najjar and his best friend, Ziberov, left Najjar's house about 7 p.m. Monday and never returned. Najjar's father said he sent his son several text messages asking if he was OK and where he was.

His son was an honor student who wanted to be a surgeon and enjoyed volunteering at Shady Grove Medical Center.

Ziberov’s stepfather said he was an Eagle Scout and National Honor Society student, who received a presidential academic award.

Both victims planned to attend college in the fall.


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Sadness filled DAR Constitution Hall, where the victims should have received their diplomas with their classmates Tuesday.

There was a moment of silence for Najjar and Ziberov, and their principal remembered the lives of two young men he said had so much potential.

“I had the honor of being Shadi and Artem’s principal both in middle school and now,” he said.

Northwest High School sent a letter home to parents Tuesday, notifying them of the tragic incident. 

"For those of you who knew Artem and Shadi, we ask that you remember and celebrate them. They were both excellent students who had a positive impact on those around them, and they will be greatly missed," Northwest High School Principal Jimmy D’Andrea said in the letter. 

Counselors returned the school for a second day Wednesday to help comfort students and staff members. 

No arrests have been made. 

"I want everybody to know what happened exactly," Adi Najjar said. "Why he's shot? Maybe somebody saw something, will call the police. At least I'll have an answer, you know? Because I will never be able to sleep until I find the answer who shot my boy and why they shot him."

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call police at 240-773-5070. A reward of up to $10,000 is being offered for information that leads to an arrest. 

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