Police Investigating Leads in Case of Students Killed Before Graduation: Chief

Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger said he is confident investigators will solve the high-profile double homicide of two high school students on the eve of their graduation.

Twenty-three shots from two guns were fired at the car in which Shadi Adi Najjar, 17, and Artem Ziberov, 18, were found dead Monday, sources told News4. They were scheduled to graduate from Northwest High School in Germantown, Maryland, Tuesday afternoon, school officials said.

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.

Investigators have leads and are putting together a timeline of where the victims were in the hours before the shootings, Manger said.

“We got the medical examiner report yesterday," Manger said. "That has helped us in terms of piecing together the forensic information. We've collected shell casings at the scene. We've got witnesses who have told us how many shots they heard.”

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

A neighbor's surveillance camera picked up the sound of the barrage of gunfire. Faintly, a car can be heard driving away from the area.


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Mourners spilled out of the Islamic Society of Germantown and into the parking lot for 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.

Both victims were excellent students at Northwest High and planned to attend college in the fall.

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.

Manger said it's difficult and emotional investigating the double homicide of the two teenagers.

“Every officer that was on the scene, every detective that's working this case can't help but think about their own families, their own kids and be impacted by that,” he said.

"I want everybody to know what happened exactly," said Najjar's father, Adi Najjar. "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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