Almost two weeks after the brutal slayings of two Maryland honor roll students who were found dead on the eve of their high school graduation, have police confirmed to having found three suspects involved with the murder.
There had been speculation that the killings had been retaliation for one of the teens’ rumored robbery. According to Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger, Jose Canales-Yanez, 25, and brothers Roger Garcia, 19 and Edgar Garcia-Gaona, 24, were each charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.
The arrests come just weeks after 18-year-old Artem Ziberov and 17-year-old Shadi Najjar were found dead in Montgomery Village, Md inside a parked, running blue Honda Civic on June 5th. The tragic shooting took place just one day before they were set to graduate from Northwest High School in Germantown, Md.
According to NYDailyNews, Najjar, who was in the driver’s seat, was shot four times, while Ziberov was shot 10, Manger said. The assailants were believed to have fired off 30 rounds, and more than a third of the shell casings recovered were from Glaser .40-caliber ammunition.
According to Manger, tt still remains unclear whether there had been a motive for killing the two high school senior or if they simply were “in the wrong place at the wrong time,”.
A police interview with Najjar’s friend revealed that the 17-year-old was believed to have robbed a girl in December or January. Authorities were able to tie that rumor to a Dec. 14th police report in which Canales-Yanez’s girlfriend at the time, who is believed to now be his wife, had alleged that someone in a blue Honda Civic had grabbed her iPad and dragged her about 50 feet with the vehicle.
“It’s believed that this is the robbery that Najjar was rumored to have participated in,” Manger said.
Confidential informants helped ID the suspects and alleged that the brutal killings were revenge for the past robbery.
The investigation into the double-homicide revealed that Najjar’s last communication before his death had been a text message sent at 10:13 p.m. where he planned to sell a graduation ticket to Garcia. The odd part is that Garcia later told police he was a Northwest High School student but claimed not to know Najjar or Ziberov.
“We’re certainly working on the strong possibility that this was a ruse to get the two victims to that location,” Manger told reporters.
Authorities executed a search warrant on Saturday at Garcia-Gaona’s residence, where they found a partial box of Glaser .40-caliber ammo.
Despite the weekend arrests, Manger stressed the investigation was not finished. He is urging anyone with information relating to the case to come forward.