WASHINGTON — Last Monday, Adi Najjar remembers his son, 17-year-old Shadi Adi Najjar, as being very anxious and excited about his high school graduation that was hours away.
The teenager looked forward to his future and, according to his father, had expressed interest in becoming a surgeon — a desire he developed during his time volunteering at Shady Grove Hospital. If not a surgeon, he told his father he wanted to get a Ph.D in political science.
The honor roll student at Northwest High School was gathered with friends in the family’s basement that afternoon, then that evening at around 7 p.m. his father said his son told him he was going out. Adi said as he always did, he told his son to text him if he was going to be late.
When Shadi walked out the door that was the last time his father saw his only child alive.
Before going to bed Adi said he texted his son and received no response.
“I woke up at 2 o’clock in morning and realized my son is still not home,” Adi said.
He said he became worried after he called his son’s phone and he didn’t pick up. Not wanting to wake up anyone, Adi decided to wait a bit before calling his son’s friends to see if they have seen him.
Then at 4:30 a.m., Adi said Montgomery County Police detectives walked up to the door, and his heart dropped as they told him his son had been found dead.
Shadi and his friend 18-year-old Artem Ziberov were found shot multiple times in a car in a Montgomery Village neighborhood.
“It was the most devastating news anyone can hear,” Adi said.
He said detectives began to question him about his son, asking if anyone disliked Shadi and he told them his son had no enemies.
The past week has been the most difficult time in his life. Adi and his wife, Cristina Najjar, continue to wait for answers and for those responsible to be identified and arrested.
He said he has called the detective in charge of his son’s case every day hoping to hear that they have answers, but so far there have been none.
“I need an answer; I need to know who killed my boy. Why?” Adi said.
Adi said he has heard some theories floating around about his son’s death and calls them all nothing but gossip.
“They get killed for tickets? Or, that they were buying drugs and somebody shot them this much for $20? It’s all gossip,” Adi said.
Adi doesn’t believe his son would choose to go to the neighborhood where he died, unless he was set up or lured to the area by someone he knew.
Both Adi and his wife Cristina believe someone out there has information that can lead police to those responsible. There is a $20,000 reward for information about the case, he said.
“They want to talk but they are afraid; and I don’t know why they are afraid,” Cristina said.
Adi said the outpouring of support the family has received during this difficult time has been overwhelming. He is praying that detectives will be able to find the answers his family and the Ziberov family need for closure.
“That’s what I am waiting for — for someone who has the courage, the guts, no fear to come forward to tell us why and who did this to him,” Adi said.
Montgomery County Police urge anyone who may have information to call the Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070. In addition, tipsters can call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477) or submit a tip on its website.