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

A 16-year-old teen has been charged as an adult in connection with 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 with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, first-degree assault and possession of a firearm by a minor.

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

After an exchange of words, one of the boys punched Gizaw in the face.

Prosecutors say Gizaw pulled out a firearm, causing five boys to flee.

Gizaw ran after them and fired a shot that hit Woods-Johnson, killing her. She was a random person in the mall, shopping with her best friend.

The prosecutor’s office requested bail of $2 million.

The Woods-Johnson family shares their sadness and outrage over the sudden loss of a loved one.

“She’s definitely a bold girl who lights up a room,” says Cheryl Huffman, Jayda’s cousin.

Family members describe Jayda as a girl with an infectious laugh who is looking forward to starting eighth grade.

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

Mother Gizawa was the one who betrayed him.

“For her to be taken away in such a tragic way. It breaks all of our hearts. We’re broken to the very core of our souls right now,” Huffman said.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Jayda’s family, where anyone willing to help can donate.

A spokesperson for Alderwood Mall told KIRO 7 that security measures will be enhanced to keep mall customers safe.

The mall will be hiring three additional security guards and a K-9 unit.