ELLICOTT CITY, MD (WUSA9) - ‘Tiny but mighty’ is how friends are remembering Charlotte Zaremba, the 16-year-old shot and killed in Howard County early New Year’s Day. The victim’s mother was also shot. The suspect then turned the gun on himself.
At approximately 2 a.m., police say officers arrived to a house in the 4800 block of Knoll Glen Road for a report of a shooting. Upon arrival, officers found a Charlotte Zaremba suffering from a gunshot wound.
Police believe the 16-year-old’s mother heard a scuffle and entered her bedroom. That’s when WUSA9 was told the suspect opened fire on Zaremba’s mother, shot Charlotte, and then shot himself.
Howard County detectives identified the shooter as a 15-year-old male, but did not release his identity right away or name a motive.
“She just always was smiling, and she was always happy, and I don’t know, she was just like really sweet and a good friend,” Isabella Kushner said. Kushner told WUSA 9 she and Charlotte were martial arts sparring partners for a little while. Kushner’s father, Brian, was their instructor.
“She was quiet but, you know, strong-minded it’s just, this is really sad. This is uh, it’s devastating. I don’t know how to put it into words,” said Brian Kushner. During the interview, he frequently stared at the floor in shock, searching for words.
Relatives and friends shared their grief on Facebook. One woman wrote, ‘she was not even driving yet.’ Another woman posted a photo of a colorful bridge. She said Charlotte made the large bridge on a sort-of junior Peace Corps trip to Costa Rica.
Suzanne Zaremba, Charlotte’s mother, was treated and released from the hospital Sunday morning.
The 15-year-old suspect remains in critical condition at Baltimore Shock Trauma.
Police said another family member was home at the time of the shooting, but was not harmed.
“She was a strong person. I mean she, when you talked to her, she, you could feel her personality,” said Brian Kushner. He recalled Zaremba as being independent.
Isabella Kushner said Zaremba was a student at Howard High School, which is expected to return from holiday break on Monday. Kushner said everyone from close friends to acquaintances and neighbors are hurting.
“The entire community of Howard County is just like, trying to support everybody and her family,” Isabella Kushner said.
Police are continuing to investigate and will update as new information becomes available. Anyone with information should contact police at 410-313-STOP or HCPDcrimetips@howardcountymd.gov.