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Obituary: Charlotte Zaremba, 16; shot on Jan. 1

Charlotte Zaremba, 16, died in the early morning hours of Sunday, January 1, at Howard County General Hospital, where she was rushed after being shot in her bedroom after her parents had brought her home from a New Year’s party. She was a sophomore at Howard High School in Ellicott City, Maryland, the Baltimore Sun reports.


Charlotte Zaremba, 16, died from gunshot wounds (her Facebook page)

Charlotte was shot by a masked intruder, who left no signs of forced entry, according to Howard County police. They identified the intruder as Sean Crizer, a friend of Charlotte’s who was also a sophomore at Howard High.

At about 2 AM, Charlotte’s mother, Suzanne, heard a scuffle in her daughter’s bedroom and went in to check. She saw the masked intruder, who shot her, then Charlotte, and then himself. Both Sean and Suzanne were treated at Shock Trauma. He died from his self-inflicted wounds.

Police say they haven’t found evidence of a romantic relationship between Charlotte and Sean, and they say Sean obtained the gun used in the attack from a home burglary in the weeks prior to this murder-suicide.

Principal Nicholas Novak at Howard High School said both Charlotte and Sean were good students and had been given good grades in their classes. Charlotte was also a volunteer in the nonprofit Best Buddies program, which encourages and supports friendships for people who are developmentally disabled. Mr Novak said the violence over the winter break had caused some anxiety among teachers and students and that moments like this can be difficult.

“No one expected to start the new year this way,” the Sun quoted him as saying. But in the school’s daily announcements, he urged the school community to stay “Howard Strong.”

At least one GoFundMe page (here) has been set up to help raise money to cover funeral and other expenses for the Zaremba family. Charlotte was buried yesterday in a private ceremony, with arrangements being handled by Harry H Witzke’s Family Funeral Home in Ellicott City.

She was known to be a very trusting and trustworthy girl. “People felt like they could talk to her,” one of her friends said about her, adding that Charlotte was often “radiating with joy.”

That day when evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious storm came up, and waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (the Gospel of Mark, ch. 4)

It was reported that Sean was an altar boy at a Catholic church. My deepest sympathies are with the Zaremba family in this time of sadness.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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