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Teen suspect pleads not guilty to murdering girl at Lynnwood mall

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

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

He posted $500,000 bail on July 4, local media reported, the day after he was arrested by Lynnwood Police Department (LPD) officers on July 3.

In a post on X on July 3, LPD police said the teenager had been detained in connection with a “murder” investigation, but did not specify what charges he actually faced.

The victim of the shopping mall shooting was 13-year-old Jayda Woods-Johnson.

More on suspect and teen shot in Lynnwood

Two groups of teens got into an argument near the food court around 6 p.m. July 3 when someone fired a gun and hit the girl, Lynnwood Deputy Police Chief Patrick Fagan told KIRO 7. Police said the girl was an innocent bystander.

No suspects were arrested at the scene. However, according to an X post from LPD, the suspect was identified as a 16-year-old boy from Edmonds and was taken into custody after his mother brought him in until he posted bail. The department previously posted photos of the suspect in multiple X posts.

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

The witness testified that he was just leaving the bar when he heard a noise like fireworks.

The weapon has not yet been found. In its last post about the shooting late Wednesday night, LPD asked that anyone who may know those involved call 425-670-5623.

More crime news in Snohomish County: 2 arrested in drive-by shooting in quiet Edmonds neighborhood

Jayda Woods-Johnson’s Family Speaks Out Through LPD

In another post by X late Wednesday night, LPD said the Woods-Johnson family is “requesting privacy at this time.” They ask that all media contact go through LPD.

Woods-Johnson’s parents, Tabatha and Jeremy Johnson, released another lengthy statement via account X LPD Friday afternoon illustrates several key points.

A family has expressed disappointment that the suspect in the fatal shooting of their daughter has posted bail and been able to return home.

“We are incredibly disappointed and disgusted to learn that the 16-year-old shopping mall shooter responsible for the murder of our daughter is now, shockingly, out on bail and comfortable in his home.” statement regarding X is reading.

Family added that while they are “absolutely devastated and numb” over the developments involving the suspect, they are “grateful to the Lynnwood Police Department for their diligence and commitment in pursuing justice for our daughter.”

In addition, the Johnsons, through LPDconfirmed that a “fake” GoFundMe page has been set up in their daughter’s name. Those wishing to donate to the family to help cover funeral costs are asked to donate to an online fundraiser set up by family friend Cheryl Huffman. As of early Saturday, more than $32,300 had been raised since the fundraiser began on Thursday. That amount has already surpassed the original goal of $30,000.

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

Condolences to the victim and her family

“The Lynnwood Police Department expresses its deepest sympathy to Jayda’s family and friends for the unimaginable loss they have suffered as a result of this senseless act of violence,” Fagan said in a statement, according to Lynnwood Today.

An official statement of condolences was released Thursday following Woods-Johnson’s death.

“My heart breaks for the family of this young lady who was killed by this senseless act of violence. I grieve for her family as they come to terms with the loss of their daughter,” Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell said in a statement on the city of Lynnwood’s website. “No one should have to go through this grief; the journey ahead for all who knew this young lady will be difficult and they will be in my thoughts and prayers.”

“We are absolutely devastated by the senseless, horrific tragedy that occurred at our mall,” Alderwood Mall said in a statement posted on its Facebook page. “Our thoughts are with the victim’s family and friends during this unimaginable time. Out of respect for them and our entire community, Alderwood will remain closed (July 4).”

This article was originally published on July 3 at 10:00 p.m. It has since been updated and republished.

Contributors: KIRO 7; Julia Dallas, MyNorthwest

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

Steve Coogan is the editor-in-chief of MyNorthwest. You can read more of his stories here. Follow Steve on Xor email him here.