Local

Family of mall shooting victim ‘disappointed and disgusted’ that the suspect is out of jail

LYNNWOOD, Wash. — A local family is sharing their grief and outrage, after their loved one was taken by gun violence.

Jayda Woods-Johnson was just 13 years old when she was shot and killed Wednesday inside Lynnwood’s Alderwood Mall.

“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.

But those dreams were cut short when a fight broke out inside Alderwood mall. Police say a 16-year-old boy opened fire in the food court, following an altercation. His actions, killing Jayda, who was not involved in the fight. She was a bystander, at the mall shopping with her best friend.

“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,” says Huffman.

The mother of the teenaged boy was the one to turn him in. He was arrested, before making his $500,000 bail on Thursday.

Huffman says the family was blindsided by the suspect’s release.

“He was released less than 24 hours after she was killed. How is that possible?” says Huffman.

In a message to KIRO 7 News, an employee with the Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office writes, ‘The individual bonded yesterday. No future hearings scheduled, as of today. The matter is under review.’

Jayda’s parents issued a statement Friday through Lynnwood Police. The statement reads in part:

‘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.

However, we are sickened and even more troubled to learn yesterday how the court has failed to protect our daughter and any future victims.’

“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, as well as a K-9 unit.

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