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Gaithersburg man kills estranged wife and neighbor in Mount Airy, then himself during standoff, police say

Two people were killed in a shooting in the 7900 block of Bennett Branch Road in Mount Airy on Thursday, April 2, 2020.

Two people were killed in a shooting in Mount Airy Thursday afternoon, and the shooter is dead as well, police confirmed.

The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office identified the victims as 18-year-old Noah Homayouni, a student at South Carroll High School and 36-year old Heather Zujkowski.

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Police from multiple local and state agencies responded to the 7900 block of Bennett Branch Road for a 911 call of shots fired at 2:50 p.m.

In a news release Thursday evening, the Sheriff’s Office said Joseph Zujkowski, 35, of Gaithersburg, opened fire on Heather Zujkowski with a rifle for unknown reasons. The suspect and Heather Zujkowski were married but separated. A protective order filed against Joseph Zujkowski expired in January.

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Carroll County Sheriff Jim DeWees said in a news conference at the scene earlier in the day, “We don’t believe it was random; we believe it was targeted.”

Homayouni was found by the first responding unit with gunshot wounds still alive soon after the call, DeWees said. Units began CPR on him until medics arrived soon after. He was taken to the nearby fairgrounds to await transport to a hospital by a Maryland State Police helicopter, but he died before the helicopter could arrive.

Homayouni lived next door to Heather Zujkowski and investigators believe he was outside at the time Joseph Zujkowski opened fire on Heather Zujkowski. Joseph Zujkowski then opened fire on Homayouni as well. As of Thursday night, there was no known motive for shooting Homayouni.

Heather Zujkowski was pronounced dead at the scene by Mount Airy medics. She was found about 500 feet off the road, DeWees said.

Three children of Heather and Joseph Zujkowski — ages 4, 6 and 11 — were in the residence on Bennett Branch Road at the time of the shooting, DeWees said, though they are safe and uninjured. Friends of the family responded to take care of the children, according to the news release.

Multiple witnesses were able to help police identify the suspect, DeWees said. Police tracked him to what they believe is his residence in Montgomery County, near Gaithersburg. Carroll County deputies made contact with him over the phone.

Montgomery County police went to that home, where the suspect shot himself after a brief standoff with police, DeWees said.

This has been a “tough stretch” in the area over the past week, DeWees said, because of the outbreak of the coronavirus at Pleasant View Nursing Home nearby. Five residents there have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and 77 residents and 18 staff members have tested positive, county officials have said.

DeWees added that a double shooting like this was “highly unusual” for the county and the Mount Airy area.

Police from the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, Mount Airy Police Department and Howard County Police Department, as well as Maryland State Police and Maryland Natural Resources Police, responded.

The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit is continuing the investigation. Anyone with information about the suspect or this incident are asked to contact Detective Owens at aowens@carrollcountymd.gov, or 410-386-2571.

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