Loved ones take turns speaking and consoling each other during a vigil held in memory of Jayda Woods-Johnson at Mountlake Terrace High School on Sunday, July 7, 2024, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Loved ones take turns speaking and consoling each other during a vigil held in memory of Jayda Woods-Johnson at Mountlake Terrace High School on Sunday, July 7, 2024, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

‘My heart drops’: Hundreds honor Alderwood shooting victim, 13

Loved ones spoke at a vigil Sunday to honor Jayda Woods-Johnson, who was shot and killed at Alderwood Mall days earlier.

MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — “Long live Jayda.”

This is how many loved ones finished their tributes at a vigil Sunday for the 13-year-old girl shot and killed at Alderwood Mall on Thursday.

Hundreds dressed in red gathered on the track at Mountlake Terrace High School to commemorate Jayda Woods-Johnson, who recently finished seventh grade at Brier Terrace Middle School.

“My heart drops every time I think of her,” said Bakary Sillah, who had known Woods-Johnson since fourth grade. “Nobody intends to go to the mall to get killed.”

People begin leaving candles in front of a photo of Jayda Woods-Johnson during a vigil held in her memory at Mountlake Terrace High School on Sunday, July 7, 2024, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

People begin leaving candles in front of a photo of Jayda Woods-Johnson during a vigil held in her memory at Mountlake Terrace High School on Sunday, July 7, 2024, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Around 6 p.m. Thursday, Woods-Johnson was at the Alderwood Mall with friends when a fight broke out between two other groups in the food court, according to Lynnwood police. One boy, 16, allegedly pulled out a gun and fired at the other group, hitting Woods-Johnson, who wasn’t involved in the fight.

She was rushed to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The boy, of Edmonds, fled the scene, but his mother turned him in. He posted $500,000 bond the next day. Charges had not been filed against the teen, as of Friday.

Red balloons surround a photo of Jayda Woods-Johnson during a vigil held in her memory at Mountlake Terrace High School on Sunday, July 7, 2024, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Red balloons surround a photo of Jayda Woods-Johnson during a vigil held in her memory at Mountlake Terrace High School on Sunday, July 7, 2024, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Dozens of classmates, friends and family spoke as the sun went down Sunday.

Woods-Johnson was an athlete on the track and field team and a movie lover, her friends said. They described her as a kind, smart girl whose presence lit up the room.

Classmate Macy Nearing told the crowd what her friend’s death taught her.

“I’m realizing no one is promised safety anywhere, to always keep your guard up, and to never take anything for granted,” Nearing said through tears Sunday. “Always tell loved ones and friends you love them, no matter how mad you are at them. You are my beautiful sweet angel, Jayda.”

Macy Nearing, alongside Kayri Alverez, wipes away tears while speaking during a vigil held in memory of Jayda Woods-Johnson at Mountlake Terrace High School on Sunday, July 7, 2024, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Macy Nearing, alongside Kayri Alverez, wipes away tears while speaking during a vigil held in memory of Jayda Woods-Johnson at Mountlake Terrace High School on Sunday, July 7, 2024, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Alongside other elected officials, Lynnwood City Council member Josh Binda recalled the 2016 shooting in Mukilteo that left three teens, all 19, dead and another injured.

“Something needs to change,” Binda told the crowd. “We need to do something with our youth. We need to find out what’s going on, and we need to make sure that we are continuing to be good role models and leaders for them to not want to take measures like this. “

Community members gather to mourn during a vigil held in memory of Jayda Woods-Johnson at Mountlake Terrace High School on Sunday, July 7, 2024, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Community members gather to mourn during a vigil held in memory of Jayda Woods-Johnson at Mountlake Terrace High School on Sunday, July 7, 2024, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Around 9:30 p.m., the vigil ended with a final prayer. As of Sunday, a fundraiser for funeral expenses had raised over $42,000.

Maya Tizon: 425-339-3434; maya.tizon@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @mayatizon.

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