Northwest will hold commencement ceremonies at 2:00 pm today at Constitution Hall, but the entire Class of 2017 will not be present. The joy of graduation day for Northwest High School will be tempered with much sadness as the Germantown community woke up to the news that two members of the Class of 2017 were shot and killed the night before graduation.
Two families will not hear their sons’ name called and two honor students will not be there to take that symbolic walk across the stage, receive their diplomas and begin their new lives.
According to police, two members of the Class of 2017, Shadi Najjar, 18, and Artem Ziberov, 17, were found by police shot to death in the Honda they were sitting in on Gallery Court in Montgomery Village last night.
“It is with deep sadness that I inform you of the deaths of Shadi Najjar and Artem Ziberov,” said an email from Northwest High School principal Jimmy D’Andrea to the school community. “Both students were scheduled to graduate today. For those of you who knew Artem and Shadi, we ask that you remember and celebrate them. They were both excellent students who had a positive impact on those around them, and they will be greatly missed.”
The letter said that there would be a team of support counselors on site at DAR Constitution Hall at the graduation ceremony and at school tomorrow. School is closed today for the graduation. Once school opens again tomorrow, “students can leave class to come to the counseling office at any point tomorrow, and in the coming days, if they feel the need,” said the email.
On Monday, at about 10:46 pm, 6th District officers responded a call about gunshots in the 8200 block of Gallery Court in Montgomery Village. When officers arrived, they found Najjar and Ziberov, in a vehicle parked on the street. Both had been shot and were pronounced dead at the scene.
While MCPD police detectives worked the case throughout the night, very few details were available about if suspects have been identified, or what the circumstances were surrounding the shootings on the quiet cul-de-sac which is made up of well-maintained single-family homes.
Police are urging anyone in the community with information to contact the Major Crimes Division at 240.773.5070. Crime Solvers of Montgomery County is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for any information that leads to the arrest of the suspect(s). Tipsters can call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
This is the second year in a row that a Germantown area school will have counselors at graduation due the untimely passing of multiple students the evening before graduation. Last year, on June 8, 2016 three Clarksburg High School juniors were killed in a horrific car crash the night before graduation ceremonies.
Photos by Germantown Pulse.