16-year-old charged with murder after fatal shooting at Alderwood Mall

A 16-year-old teen has been charged as an adult in the fatal shooting of 13-year-old Jayda Woods-Johnson at Alderwood Mall on July 3.

Samuel Gizaw, 16, was charged Tuesday in Snohomish County on charges of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, first-degree assault, and juvenile possession of a firearm.

According to charging documents, prosecutors allege Gizaw and his friend were confronted by a group of five teenage boys near the mall’s food court.

After words were exchanged, one of the boys punched Gizaw in the face.

Prosecutors say Gizaw then pulled out a firearm, which caused the five boys to run.

Gizaw chased after them and fired a shot, which hit Woods-Johnson, killing her. She was a bystander at the mall, shopping with her best friend.

The prosecutor’s office asked for $2 million bail.

Woods-Johnson’s family is sharing their grief and outrage after their loved one was taken so suddenly.

“She’s definitely the spunky girl that lights up a room,” says Cheryl Huffman, Jayda’s cousin.

Family members describe Jayda as a girl with infectious laughter, excited to start 8th grade.

“She loved music. She loved movies. She wanted to be an actress,” says Huffman. “It was his decision to get a gun. It was his decision to carry a gun. It was his decision to shoot her; to pull the trigger. He made a lot of decisions that ended up murdering our baby girl.”

The mother of the Gizaw was the one to turn him in.

“For her to just be taken in such a tragic way. It breaks all of our hearts. We are shattered to the depth of our souls right now,” says Huffman.

A GoFundMe page for Jayda’s family has been set up for those wishing to donate.

A spokesman for the Alderwood Mall tells KIRO 7 they are beefing up security for the safety of shoppers.

The mall will add three additional security staff and a K-9 unit.

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