Teen suspect in Ellicott City New Year’s shooting dies

WASHINGTON — The teen suspected of fatally shooting a classmate after she returned from a New Year’s party before turning the gun on himself has died, the Howard County Police Department announced Tuesday.

Sean Crizer, 15, also of Ellicott City, was accused of shooting 16-year-old Charlotte Zaremba around 2 a.m. Sunday. Police said the girl and her parents had returned home to the 4800 block of Knoll Glen Road on New Year’s Eve when her mother, 52-year-old Suzanne Zaremba, heard a scuffle in her daughter’s bedroom and found her daughter struggling with a masked person who fired a shot at both of them. He then shot himself.

Police said Tuesday they haven’t determined any link between the two teens, although they said they have connected Crizer with a series of burglaries in the Zaremba’s neighborhood in the weeks leading up to the shooting.

Charlotte Zaremba was pronounced dead at Howard County General Hospital on Sunday. Crizer was taken to Baltimore Shock Trauma where he remained in critical condition until he died.

Suzanne Zaremba, who was shot in the leg, was also taken to Shock Trauma where she was treated for her injuries and released.

Charlotte Zaremba’s father was also home at the time of the shooting but was in a different room on a different floor of the house, Howard County police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn told reporters during a Tuesday afternoon news conference.

Police said Tuesday they still have not found a link between Crizer and Charlotte Zaremba. The two teens both lived in the same neighborhood and attended Howard High School, but police said there’s no indication of a relationship between the two. There are more than 1,700 students enrolled at the high school.

“We can’t even assume that these two teenagers knew each other,” Howard County police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn told WTOP. “They did live in the same neighborhood. They did attend the same high school. But so far, we haven’t found anything that links them to one another. For us, it’s not safe to assume anything.”

Llewellyn said police are combing through cellphone records and computers belonging to the teens to determine if there is a link between the two teens. “Right now, it doesn’t appear that way at all.”

Detectives believe Crizer is responsible for a series of burglaries in the neighborhood in the weeks leading up to the shooting, police said. The gun used to shoot the Zarembas had been reported stolen from a house on Marybeth Way in Ellicott City on Dec. 29. Llewellyn said a search of Crizer’s house after the fatal shooting turned up other stolen property and evidence linking him to the burglaries.

Investigators recovered the gun and the mask from the Zaremba house after the shooting, police said.

“We’re doing everything that we can to try to talk with family, talk with friends of both the suspect and the victim and see what else we can learn,” Llewellyn said. “We know that Charlotte’s family is in shock understandably and we’re doing everything that we can to work with them and help them through this very difficult time.”

Police are continuing to investigate and said anyone with information should contact police at 410-313-STOP or HCPDcrimetips@howardcountymd.gov.

WTOP’s Megan Cloherty contributed to this report. 

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