WASHINGTON — Montgomery County police said Friday they believe multiple shooters were involved in the slayings of two Germantown, Maryland, teens on the eve of their high school graduation earlier this month and that they don’t believe the shooting was a random act.
Shadi Adi Najjar, 17, and Artem S. Ziberov, 18, were killed in a hail of bullets while waiting inside a car in a Montgomery Village cul-de-sac at about 10:45 p.m. June 5.
Investigators recovered 30 shell casings from multiple caliber of weapons at the scene, said Capt. Darren Francke, director of the Montgomery County Police Department’s major crimes division, at a news conference Friday. One of the teens was shot 10 times; the other was shot four times, Francke said.
The double shooting, which came just hours before the teens were set to attend a graduation ceremony for Northwest High School, shocked the community and left parents grief-stricken and searching for answers.
About 60 investigators have interviewed about 100 people, processed numerous phoned-in tips and examined forensic evidence and cellphone records.
Frankce said police still don’t know why the two teens were in the Montgomery Village neighborhood the night they were fatally shot.
“They would have no normal course of business in that neighborhood on that street,” he said.
Francke also said police believe there’s a connection between at least one of the teens and the suspects in the case and pleaded for tips from the public.
“We do believe that the suspects and the victims knew each other and more importantly we believe there are people out there that have not come forward yet and have not given us information that they know about this case,” Frankce said.
Francke said the family of one of the victims was seeking to increase the reward offered for information leading to an arrest from the $10,000 being offered now.
“We believe people are talking,” Frankce said. “We believe that there’s probably a good chance that someone at Northwest High School knows something that they should share, that they should do the right thing.”
Anyone who may have information is urged to call Montgomery County police’s major crimes division at 240-773-5070. Tipsters can also call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477) or submit a tip to its website.