GAITHERSBURG, Md. - We need help from the public – that is the message from Montgomery County police following the killings of two Northwest High School students in Montgomery Village earlier this week.
Artem Ziberov, 18, and Shadi Najjar, 17, were found shot to death inside a car last Monday night. Police said they have detectives working hard to solve this case that has shocked their community. It is still unknown what led to the shootings, who did it and why the teenagers were in this Montgomery Village neighborhood in the first place.
Najjar’s funeral was held on Wednesday at the Islamic Society of Germantown. Shadi’s uncle, Ammar Najjar, is the imam who led the emotional service.
Shadi's father, Adi, made a desperate plea for help in finding his son's killer.
“If you know of anyone who killed my beautiful boy – please, you need to call [police], and the reward is going to be $20,000 now,” said Adi Najjar. “I’m going to keep increasing it until I find who killed my beautiful boy.”
“I am praying for his mom and dad,” said Ammar Najjar. “This is their only son. They work so hard for him. They gave him everything. Everything he wanted, he got, and he was a good kid.”
Montgomery County police said Wednesday that the autopsy results from the medical examiner’s office showed both teenagers died from multiple gunshot wounds and the manner of their deaths has been ruled a homicide.
However, police are keeping most information about the investigation under wraps, including details on tips that have come in and possible suspect leads.
“Today, the process of the investigation is more of an inward kind of thing,” said Montgomery County Police Capt. Paul Starks. “It may not appear that a lot is going on, but there is still a lot of work and effort trying to determine who is responsible for these two murders.”
A source familiar with the investigation says at least one of the victims killed had cash in his hand when he was shot. It was described as not a significant amount, but somewhere between $20 and $50.
We asked police about the evidence found at the scene and several gunshots being heard in the area at the time of the shooting. Police are not saying if they believe the gunfire came from a single gun or several guns. They said that is all part of the investigation.
In addition to the $20,000 reward offered by Najjar’s father, Montgomery County police are also offering a $10,000 reward leading to an arrest in the case.
A GoFundMe has been created to raise funds for the families of the Najjar and Ziberov. For more information, click here.