Community Mourns, Seeks Answers in Shooting Deaths of Local Teens

Photo | Submitted Northwest seniors Artem Ziberov and Shadi Adi Najjar were shot to death June 5, the evening before graduation.

Photo | Submitted
Northwest seniors Artem Ziberov and Shadi Adi Najjar were shot to death June 5, the evening before graduation.

Photo | Submitted Northwest seniors Artem Ziberov and Shadi Adi Najjar were shot to death June 5, the evening before graduation.

Photo | Submitted
Northwest seniors Artem Ziberov and Shadi Adi Najjar were shot to death June 5, the evening before graduation.

Germantown teen Artem Ziberov was laid to rest in an emotional ceremony Saturday, even as county police continue to investigate leads that might identify who shot him and his classmate, Shadi Adi Najjar, to death.

Ziberov, 18, and Najjar, 17, were seniors and honor roll students at Northwest High School in Germantown. Najjar was also buried last week. Both were found June 5 inside a car riddled with bullets in the 8200 block of Gallery Court, Montgomery Village.

Northwest High School Principal Jimmy D’Andrea said most of the victims’ classmates learned of the tragedy on graduation morning.

“They were both excellent students,” D’Andrea said. “If you talk to people that know them, you learn they were very kind and very generous. They would go out of their way to help others.”

It is still unclear why Ziberov and Najjar were in the neighborhood, or why they were shot. A nearby resident’s surveillance system picked up the sound of 22 shots fired.

Najjar aspired to enter the field of medicine, and had volunteered at Shady Grove Medical Center in Gaithersburg. He was laid to rest last Wednesday at the Islamic Society of Germantown.

On the same day, Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger said the department was following many leads but asked for the public’s help in identifying and capturing the killers, saying anyone with information on the matter should contact police.

A key source of public insight into Ziberov’s character has been the scout troop with which he was affiliated.

“Artem Ziberov was an active member of Boy Scout Troop 489 where he earned the rank of Eagle Scout, scouting’s highest achievement, in December 2015,” said Karl Moline, scoutmaster of Boy Scouts of America Troop 489, in a statement. “While working toward the rank of Eagle Scout, Artem completed an Eagle Scout Service Project to help the Second Chance Wildlife Center in Gaithersburg.  The Eagle Scout Service Project is a substantial project that both provides a service to the community and gives the scout an opportunity to demonstrate his leadership abilities as he plans and carries out the project.  Artem led a team of 20 scouts and adults in building squirrel boxes for Second Chance to use in their rehabilitation program.”

Moreover, Ziberov’s scout leaders described him as a leader and community-oriented person.

“Artem was an outstanding young man, always cheerful and ready to help,” Moline wrote. “While he was generally pretty reserved, he had a great sense of humor and enjoyed being around his fellow scouts and the Troop’s adult leaders.  Troop 489’s leaders and families are all devastated by the loss of Artem, and extend our deepest sympathies to his family.”

With graduation complete and the rest of the Northwest student body finishing the school year this week, D’Andrea said the school community would continue to band together. It has been a time of tragedy for that community. Northwest alum Pierce English died in a single-car crash June 4.

D’Andrea said a candlelight vigil is in the works for sometime “in the next couple of weeks,” although no exact date has been set yet.

“I would say there is still tremendous sadness over what happened,” D’Andrea said. “I would characterize it as extreme sadness as well as shock.”

If you would like to help the families with expenses, please visit www.gofundme.com/funeral-costs-for-shadi-najjar and www.gofundme.com/artemziberov.

Share