July 13, 2024 7:06 pm

The premier news source for Snohomish County

Hundreds gather to mourn the shooting death of Jayda Woods-Johnson

LYNNWOOD—Hundreds of friends, family, and schoolmates of Jayda Woods-Johnson gathered in solidarity at the Mountlake Terrace High School football field on Sunday, July 7, clad in red shirts, Jayda’s favorite color, bearing despondence on their faces. The thirteen-year-old Jayda was tragically shot in the Alderwood Mall food court in Lynnwood on Wednesday, July 3, by a stray bullet—a result of an altercation between two teens. She was transported to a nearby medical facility but succumbed to her wounds that evening.

Jayda Woods-Johnson
Friends of Jayda Woods-Johnson attending her vigil on July 7, 2024. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

Jayda’s shooter, who the Lynnwood Times confirmed is a student at Kamiak High School in the Mukilteo School District, was promptly turned into law enforcement by his mother. He was released a day later on a $500 thousand bond. The sixteen-year-old now faces murder charges. A trial date has not yet been scheduled.

On September 8, 2023, fifteen-year-old Kamiak High School student Bryan Tamya was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting at a crowded bus stop on Hardeson Road in South Everett.

Jayda Woods-Johnson

Pastor Sean Perez, from New Testament Christian Church, opened the vigil with a prayer saying Jesus Christ who, like Jayda, was innocent but simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“There are so many feelings, so many emotions that we have all been experiencing and really none of this makes any sense at all, said Pastor Perez during his prayer. “There’s feelings of sadness, feelings of despair and absolute despair. There’s even feelings of anger, feelings of wrath, feelings of revenge to those responsible.”

Jayda Woods-Johnson
Attendees of vigil of Jayda Woods-Johnson on July 7, 2024. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

Jayda’s friend Daiquiri disagreed with Pastor Perez’s sentiments saying “Jayda was not at the wrong place at the wrong time, Jayda was at a place that should have been safe and should have been fun—nobody ever expects to go to a mall and get hit by a bullet.”

Following Pastor Perez’s words, the mic was open to any of Jayda’s friends to share a memory. A common theme shared by those who knew her best was that she was “always kind to everyone” and was always there for her friends.

Jayda Woods-Johnson
Friends Macy (left) and Keryi (right) of Jayda Woods-Johnson speaking at her vigil on July 7, 2024. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

“Jayda I will always remember you. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the moments we spent together. You will forever be the world to me even though I never got to tell you. I wish I did. There were so many things I wish I told you,” said Macy, a friend of Jayda’s, fighting back tears.

Jayda’s cousin Amber followed sharing some of her fondest memories she had with Jayda since an early age, camping, and going on road trips to Spokane.

“My heart breaks at what happened,” said Amber. “She was so sweet and gorgeous. I’ve cried so much I’m convinced I have no more tears left because she meant, so, so much to me.”

Jayda Woods-Johnson
Cousin Amber (left) and a family member of Jayda Woods-Johnson attending her vigil on July 7, 2024. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

Amber last saw Jayda just three days before she died, remembering to tell her that she loved her. A few nights before that the two were having a sleepover when Amber woke up at 2 a.m. to Jayda staring at her with a big smirk on her face. Shortly after she began laughing and shot up, beginning to dance and play music. This memory, Amber shared, exemplified Jayda’s jovial, humor-driven, energy she brought to life.

Amber expressed distress to Jayda’s shooter being released on bail – another common theme of words shared by Jayda’s friends.

“He’s out walking around, having a home cooked meal, while we are having to go to an event like this,” another friend, who did not provide her name, shared.

Jayda Woods-Johnson
Mr. Diaz, one of Jayda’s teachers, speaking at her vigil on July 7, 2024. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

Lynnwood City Council members, President George Hurst, Vice President Julieta Altamirano-Crosby, and Joshua Binda shared a mic together after several of Jayda’s friends spoke, including one of her former teachers at Brier Terrace Middle School with President Hurst stating, “thoughts and prayers are great for the community but for elected officials we have a higher standard and we need to do something, we need to take action.”

Jayda Woods-Johnson
Lynnwood Councilman Josh Binda, Vice President Julieta Altamirano-Crosby, and President George Hurst speaking at the vigil for Jayda Woods-Johnson on July 7, 2024. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

President Hurst added that him and Vice President Altamirano-Crosby have already gotten to work on organizing a town hall on gang and gun violence in the city. In the long-term, he said, elected officials need to figure out “what’s going on” with the city.

Lynnwood City Councilman Binda shared that Jayda’s death hit too close to home, having a 14-year-old sister who frequents the Alderwood Mall with her friends.

“As a community we need to come together and figure out what’s going on in our community, how a sixteen-year-old has a gun,” Binda added. “It’s just completely wrong and unforgettable. Something needs to change with our youth.”

Selana Taylor, a mother who lost her son Ezra to a stray bullet on Pacific Highway in Des Moines, shared her story and that she understands what it’s like to lose a child. 

Jayda Woods-Johnson
Selana Taylor sharing words of wisdom from a parent who lost her son to gun violence. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

“I’m here today to let you know that it’s okay not to be okay. It’s going to moment to moment, it won’t be day by day, it’ll be moment by moment and within this loss there will be a community,” said Taylor. “Jayda will never be forgotten – I can promise you that. I’m with you, I’m standing by you, I got you because it’s not easy being a parent going through what you guys are going through…I know that Jayda will have justice.” 

Jayda Woods-Johnson
Tabatha Johnson, mother of Jayda Woods-Johnson, speaking at her vigil on July 7, 2024. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

Elected Officials in attendance at Sunday’s memorial included Mountlake Terrace Mayor Matsumoto Wright, Lake Stevens Mayor Brett Gaily, WA State Rep. Lauren Davis, Lynnwood City Councilman Joshua Binda, Lynwood City Council President George Hurst, Mountlake Terrace City Councilman Dr. Steve Woodard, and Lynnwood City Council Vice President Dr. Julieta Altamirano-Crosby.

Jayda Woods-Johnson
Attendee of vigil of Jayda Woods-Johnson on July 7, 2024. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

Jayda’s friend Katyi told the Lynnwood Times that Jayda was “obsessed with movies – especially horror movies.” One of her favorites was Scream and she would commonly be spotted wearing Ghost Face merchandise while walking around school. 

Katyi recounted a memory of her gifting Jayda a Ghost Face poster on Valentine’s Day in honor of this adoration who, in the original 1996 slasher film, stalks and terrorizes local high school students.

“She was just a really fun and energetic person to be around,” Keyri told the Lynnwood Times.

Jayda Woods-Johnson
Johnson Family surrounded by friends and family at the vigil of Jayda Woods-Johnson on July 7, 2024. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

She also enjoyed romance films, another one of Jayda’s friends Macy added, with one of her favorites being the Nicholas Sparks-based The Notebook.

Jayda also ran track and loved to dance, eat ramen noodles, and send “goofy videos” to her friends. Her favorite subjects in school were art and science. She had good grades and was described by her friends as a hard worker.

The Lynnwood Times will be dedicating its Thursday issue to Jayda Woods-Johnson. Please email your words of support, remembrance of Jayda, etc. for the Johnson Family to editorial@lynnwoodtimes.com or you can comment below for it to be included in the paper. SUBMISSION DEADLINE IS 6 P.M., JULY 9.

Video of Jayda Woods-Johnson’s Vigil

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tell Us What You Think

This poll is no longer accepting votes

Should local cities remove the prohibition to sparklers, snaps, poppers, snakes, and similar low to no noise ground-based fireworks for July 4th?
62 votes · 62 answers

    Join Our Mailing List

    Verified by MonsterInsights