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Teen charged with murder after fatal shooting of 13-year-old girl at Alderwood mall


Teen charged with murder after fatal shooting of 13-year-old girl at Alderwood mall

Prosecutors filed charges Tuesday afternoon against a teenager who is accused of fatally shooting a 13-year-old girl inside the Alderwood mall in Lynnwood last week.

According to court records, Samuel Gizaw, 16, of Mukilteo, is charged with murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree, assault in the first degree, and unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree.

The charges are filed in Snohomish County Superior Court. Washington law stipulates that juveniles aged 16 or 17 who are charged with ‘serious violent offenses,’ which includes murder, are automatically referred to the adult court system.

Lynnwood police allege Gizaw took a gun to the Alderwood mall on July 3 and became involved in a fight between two groups of juveniles. According to investigators, Gizaw pulled out his gun and fired, striking Jayda Woods-Johnson.


Police said Woods-Johnson was an innocent bystander and not involved in the altercation that preceded the shooting.

A police report released Tuesday clarifies that Gizaw had been punched in the face and then chased the person who punched him while pulling out the gun. The report says Gizaw aimed and fired at the teen who had just punched him, but the round missed and struck Woods-Johnson.

Gizaw was originally turned into police by his mother hours after the shooting. According to court records, he was released from custody a day later when his family posted a bond for the $500,000 bail amount.

“The defendant is a risk to fail to appear again in the future. The defendant now is aware he is being charged as an adult and facing the possibility of substantially more time in custody,” deputy prosecuting attorney Elise Ann Deschenes wrote in charging documents. “During the course of their investigation, detectives have found or been told of many social media posts about this incident. In one post, an uninvolved individual boasts that law enforcement will not find the firearm, indicating that arrangements were made to dispose of the this evidence. Police recovered the defendant’s cell phone from an individual he gave to as they fled the mall. It is clear the defendant has attempted to hide evidence.”

With the charges being filed, a $2-million warrant for Gizaw’s arrest was issued.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Gizaw remained out of custody.

This is a developing story, updates will be posted.

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