Police: ‘Multiple’ gunshots in Germantown students’ death case

WASHINGTON — The two Germantown teenagers fatally shot in Montgomery Village hours before they were to graduate from high school were the targets of “multiple” gunshots, police said Wednesday.

Capt. Paul Starks also told reporters that the car with Northwest High School students Shadi Adi Najjar, 17, and Artem Ziberov, 18, inside was running when they were shot at about 10:45 p.m. Monday in the 8200 block of Gallery Court. Starks added that Najjar was behind the wheel.

He wouldn’t say whether the two were targeted, or what they were doing before the shooting.

“Investigators aren’t willing right now to put a label on this investigation,” he said.

Starks said “we’re getting a lot of tips, but we still need more.” A neighbor sent in a surveillance video on which the shots could be heard, Starks said, and added that people shouldn’t worry that a tip is too small.

“Many people may have something [and] don’t want to bother us. We’re asking to be bothered. And let us put the value on what they’re giving us,” he said.

Counselors were on hand Wednesday at Northwest High School to help students deal with the deaths.

At Tuesday’s graduation, Northwest High School Principal Jimmy D’Andrea said “We have heavy hearts” after the two deaths, as well as that of student Nigel Hendrickson earlier this year.

D’Andrea wrote in a letter to parents that Najjar and Ziberov “were both excellent students who had a positive impact on those around them, and they will be greatly missed.”

The two were the eighth and ninth homicides in Montgomery County this year. Starks called the case “a horrible tragedy” and added that “we’re not pulling any punches; we’re throwing it all at it.”

Detectives urge anyone who may have information to contact the Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070. For those who wish to remain anonymous, Crime Solvers of Montgomery County is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for any information that leads to arrests. Submit a tip to Montgomery County Crime Solvers on their website. Tipsters can also call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

Below is a map of the area where the victims were found.

WTOP’s Nick Iannelli and Colleen Kelleher contributed to this report.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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