MONTGOMERY VILLAGE, Md. - Two teenagers who were supposed to celebrate their high school graduation Tuesday afternoon were shot to death inside a car in Montgomery Village late Monday evening, according to authorities.
The Montgomery County Police Department said 17-year-old Shadi Adi Najjar and 18-year-old Artem S. Ziberov were found suffering from gunshot wounds inside a Honda Civic in the 8200 block of Gallery Court.
Najjar was in the driver's seat of the vehicle while Ziberov was sitting in the front passenger seat. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.
The first 911 call came in at 10:46 p.m. Monday for the sound of gunshots.
"He heard six to eight gunshots less than 5 minutes ago," said the 911 dispatcher in audio obtained by FOX 5. "He doesn't know what kind of gun. It wasn't single fired – six to eight shots.”
Five minutes later, the first arriving officer found the Honda vehicle with the motor running and the headlights on. He is heard telling dispatch that there were two people down with gunshot wounds to the head. Another officer said both victims did not have a pulse.
Nyalia Pfinayi, who lives in the house where the Honda was parked, heard the gunfire.
"We peaked through the window,” he said. “That's when we noticed the lights were on and then the rear-side window was shattered.”
Just up the street, Gordon Gipe said he heard the gunshots as well, but thought it was fireworks. When he looked out the window, he said he saw nothing.
"An hour later, a detective came by at 1 a.m. and he had me actually go down a little bit to where I could see the vehicle and said, ‘Have you seen this vehicle on the street before?’ And I said, ‘No, I hadn't.’”
Gipe did not know it then, but he discovered that one of his surveillance cameras recorded the sound of several gunshots and a car leaving the scene.
“It's quite sad for young men to lose their lives like that,” said Pfinayi.
"It's very unusual, it's shocking and it's tragic," said Montgomery County Police Capt. Paul Starks. "That's one of the reasons why investigators are holding many details close to the vest. They don't want to hurt the integrity of this fluid investigation."
Najjar's father, Adi, told FOX 5's Melanie Alnwick the teens were expected to graduate from Northwest High School in Germantown on Tuesday.
"The night before his graduation," he said while fighting back tears. "We were (going to be) happy to see him graduate."
Adi Najjar said his son volunteered at his mosque and at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital.
Ziberov's stepfather told FOX 5's Paul Wagner he had no idea why the teen was in Montgomery Village Monday night. He said Ziberov was an Eagle Scout, held a job and was planning to attend the University of Maryland in the fall.
Detectives said the cause was being investigated as a homicide, though a motive for the shooting had not been determined at this time. Anyone with information about the incident was urged to call the Montgomery County Police Department at 240-773-5070.