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Bail raised to $2 million for teen charged in deadly Alderwood mall shooting

The 16-year-old boy accused of fatally shooting a 13-year-old girl at Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood pleaded not guilty to all charges in court Wednesday afternoon.

Samuel Gizaw, 16, of Mukilteo, is charged with murder, assault and unlawful possession of a firearm in the July 3 shooting that killed Jayda Woods-Johnson.

Judge Marybeth Dingledy granted the Snohomish County prosecutor's request to increase Gizaw's bail from $500,000 to $2 million.

Gizaw's family posted $500,000 bail to secure his release from juvenile detention a day after the shooting. He turned himself in to custody Tuesday night after prosecutors filed charges against him in Superior Court.

Members of Woods-Johnson's family were in the courtroom wearing “Justice for Jayda” T-shirts during Wednesday's hearing.

“My daughter shouldn't be gone, she should be here,” said Woods-Johnson's father, Jeremy Johnson.

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Speaking to reporters after the hearing, the victim's family expressed frustration over the bail amount set.

“Why ask for bail when you kill someone? They can't come back, why should you be part of society?” Jeremy Johnson asked.

Police say Woods-Johnson was an innocent bystander to a fight that took place in the mall's food court. Charging documents say one teen punched Gizaw in the face, then Gizaw chased the other boy through the mall and shot him.

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The bullet missed the other boy involved in the fight and hit Woods-Johnson. Responding police and paramedics tried to save his life, but Woods-Johnson died at Providence Hospital.

Within hours, investigators released a surveillance image of Gizaw taken by the mall's security cameras. A teacher at Gizaw's high school contacted police to identify him.

A Mukilteo police officer also told investigators he knew Gizaw was the person in the photo.

About two hours after the shooting, Gizaw’s mother took him to the police station. Gizaw’s parents confirmed that they had taken him to the mall earlier in the day and that he appeared upset when he returned home, but would not say why, according to the police report.

Gizaw was taken into juvenile detention on suspicion of murder and assault on the night of June 3. The next morning, a judge set bail at $500,000, which was posted the same day by his family through a surety.

Gizaw remained out of custody until Tuesday evening, when his attorney, Scott McGinty, said Gizaw had again surrendered to authorities.

According to a police report, Gizaw's parents said they did not know he had a gun. Investigators, however, say Gizaw is seen on social media posing with firearms.

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“In one image, the defendant is standing with his head down, smoking something while holding what appears to be a black firearm at his side,” the report states.

Police said an associate of Gizaw posted photos with the same gun and an extended magazine. The same associate, police said, then reposted a message on the Snohomish County Scanner about the mall shooting with the caption, “Isn’t this fun?”

Lynnwood police said they still have not recovered the gun used to kill Woods-Johnson.

“During the course of their investigation, investigators discovered or were made aware of numerous social media posts regarding the incident. In one of the posts, an uninvolved individual bragged that law enforcement would not recover the firearm, indicating that steps had been taken to dispose of the evidence,” Assistant District Attorney Elaine Ann Deschenes wrote in charging documents.

In Washington, murder cases involving minors 16 or 17 are automatically transferred to adult court. Gizaw will remain in juvenile detention unless bail is posted.

Judge Dingledy set the next hearing for August 23.

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