MOUNT AIRY, Md. — Heather Zujkowski was a mother, a veteran and the victim of a deadly domestic violence shooting. Police say she was murdered by her estranged husband in Mount Airy on April 2.
She and her teenage neighbor who was practicing lacrosse in his yard were shot outside of their homes.
“Heather had a big smile that just made everyone else smile,” Valerie Bartel said. “I feel like every time I saw her I was just excited to be with her.”
Bartel is the godmother of Heather's three children, and she said their families did everything together.
Any free time Heather had was committed to learning and helping others.
“She was working and volunteering at her school at Winfield. She was also a part of its called Ava’s 5K for Down syndrome working closely with this organization trying to get a special needs playground put in place in Mount Airy.”
Jessie Estrellla met Heather through the military, she served as her husbands First Commander in Germany.
“She had a humongous heart and I think that’s what lead her to initially joining the military,” Estrella said.
Heather's two boys are now with grandma and grandpa and will soon live with them in Florida.
One of the boys has cerebral palsy and the family needs help getting a conversion van.
Heather was able to get her son in the car seat, which is not an easy task for the grandparents.
“I think it would help them not injure them and also be able to focus on the grieving process,” Estrella said. “Being able to get them out and get a breath of fresh air and go to the playground and take them to do similar things to do similar things that Heather would have loved to share with her children.”
Jodi Demay also has a child with special needs and she says Heather's daughter was always there for her in school.
“Her daughter is such a compassionate person,” Demay said. “Shayla is a spitting image of her mother in terms of her behavior. Whenever Aubrey would be having a hard time Sheila is right there.”
Saying goodbye to an American hero who shined light on so many in Carrol County.
“She was my biggest encourager, we were the godparents of the kids,” said Bartel. “We just brought them cookies one day and we developed this friendship and lived life together almost like she was my sister.”
Her memory lives on through all the lives she touched.
To donate for a trust for her three children click here.
Carroll County Police said Heather and her husband Joseph were separated, and a protective order naming Joseph as the defendant expired in January of this year.
Police say Joseph left the scene and was later found dead after shooting himself.