MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Teen suspect pleads not guilty to murdering girl at Lynnwood mall; Bail set at $2M

Jul 10, 2024, 1:55 PM | Updated: 2:04 pm

Jayda Woods-Johnson, 13, died after she was shot at Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood on Wednesday, July 3...

Jayda Woods-Johnson, 13, died after she was shot at Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood on Wednesday, July 3, 2024. (Photo provided Woods-Johnson's family via the Lynnwood Police Department/@LynnwoodPD on X)

(Photo provided Woods-Johnson's family via the Lynnwood Police Department/@LynnwoodPD on X)

An Edmonds teenager pleaded not guilty on Wednesday, according to the Daily Herald of Everett, to murdering a 13-year-old girl who was shot inside the Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood. The Everett Herald also reported Judge Marybeth Dingledy set the suspect’s bail at $2 million.

On Tuesday the 16-year-old suspect, Samuel L. Gizaw, was charged as an adult in Snohomish County Superior Court with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, first-degree assault and a juvenile in possession of the firearm that killed the girl, according to court documents obtained by The Everett Herald.

On July 4 he posted $500,000 bond, the day after Lynnwood Police Department (LPD) officers arrested him on July 3, according to a local report.

In a post on X July 3, LPD said the teen was detained for investigation of “murder,” but it was not clear the charges authorities actually booked him on.

The victim of the mall shooting has been identified as 13-year-old Jayda Woods-Johnson.

More on the suspect and teen shot in Lynnwood

Two groups of teenagers got into an altercation near the food court around 6 p.m. on July 3 when a person fired a gun, hitting the girl, Lynnwood police Deputy Chief Patrick Fagan told KIRO 7. Police said the girl was an innocent bystander.

No suspects were arrested at the scene. But, according to a post on X from LPD, the suspect was identified as a 16-year old boy from Edmonds and he was in custody after his mother brought him in until he posted bond. Earlier, the department posted images of the suspect in multiple X posts.

At the time of the shooting Wednesday, people inside the mall were told to shelter in place. That order was lifted just before 7:30 p.m.

A witness said he had just left the food court when he heard what sounded like a firework.

The gun has not yet been found. In its final X post about the shooting late Wednesday, LPD has asked that anyone who might know any of the people involved in this crime, please call 425-670-5623.

More Snohomish County crime: 2 arrested for drive-by shooting in quiet Edmonds area

Jayda Woods-Johnson’s family speaks out through LPD

In another X post late Wednesday night, LPD reported that Woods-Johnson’s family “requests privacy at this time.” They are asking all media contact go through LPD.

Woods-Johnson’s parents, Tabatha and Jeremy Johnson, released another lengthy statement through the X account of LPD Friday afternoon illustrating several key points.

The family expressed disappointment that the suspect in the fatal shooting of their daughter posted bond and was able to go home.

“We are extremely disappointed and disgusted to learn the mall shooter, the 16-year-old, responsible for murdering our daughter, is shockingly already out on bail back comfortable in his home,” the statement on X reads.

The family added that while they are “absolutely devastated and numb” by the development involving the suspect, they are “grateful to Lynnwood Police for their diligence and commitment to finding justice for our daughter.”

In addition, the Johnsons, via LPD, confirmed a “false” GoFundMe page was set up in their daughter’s name. For those who wish to donate to the family to assist with funeral costs, they are asked to contribute to the online fundraiser set up by family friend Cheryl Huffman. As of early Saturday, that one has raised over $32,300 since it was started Thursday. That figure has already surpassed the original goal amount of $30,000.

Image: A Lynnwood Police Department vehicle is seen outside of Alderwood Mall.

A Lynnwood Police Department vehicle is seen outside of Alderwood Mall. (Image courtesy of KIRO 7)

Messages of sympathy for the victim and her family

“The Lynnwood Police Department expresses our deepest sympathy to Jayda’s family and friends for their unimaginable loss due to this senseless act of violence,” Fagan said in a statement, according to Lynnwood Today.

Official messages of sympathy were released Thursday following Woods-Johnson’s death.

“My heart breaks for the family of this young lady killed by a senseless act of violence. I grieve for her family as they attempt to come to grips with the loss of their daughter,” Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell wrote in a statement that can be viewed on the city of Lynnwood website. “No one should have to go through this sorrow; the journey ahead for all who know this young lady will be difficult and they will remain in my thoughts and prayers.”

“We are completely devastated by the senseless, horrific tragedy that happened in our shopping center,” Alderwood Mall wrote in its release that can be seen on its Facebook page. “Our thoughts are with the victim’s family and friends during this unimaginable time. In observance and respect for them and our entire community, Alderwood will remain closed (on the Fourth of July).”

This story was originally published on July 3 at 10 p.m. and has been updated and republished since then.

Contributing: KIRO 7; Julia Dallas, MyNorthwest

Bill Kaczaraba is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here. Follow Bill on X, or email him here

Steve Coogan is the lead editor of MyNorthwest. You can read more of his stories here. Follow Steve on X, or email him here.

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Teen suspect pleads not guilty to murdering girl at Lynnwood mall; Bail set at $2M