Jacob Bergquist was the active shooter in the Boise, Idaho, mall shooting on Monday, October 25, 2021, that left three people dead — including a security guard, a mall customer and the suspect — and five more wounded, according to the local coroner and police.
Although he was initially in critical condition, Bergquist, 27, whose Boise address was searched, died on October 26. Police described a chaotic scene in which the security guard and a Boise police officer confronted the suspect, and a gun battle between the officer and suspect erupted at the Boise Towne Square, a popular mall. One of the deceased victims was named as Jo Acker, a mall security guard and military veteran who was called a hero. The other deceased victim was named as Roberto Padilla Arguelles.
YouTube videos obtained by Heavy show that Bergquist posted videos showing him firing guns on a page called Guns N Rodents, claiming he was a felon from Illinois. Idaho News 6 confirmed that the videos show the same Jacob Bergquist who was the mall shooter. “The videos also capture him using racist language toward Hispanics and Minorities,” the station reported. Be aware that the video below will disturb some people.
The “About Me” page for his YouTube channel said that his channel had been removed by YouTube. It claimed, “I am a convicted felon that currently lives in Boise, Idaho. This channels main dedication is towards repealing the prohibited possessor list in various states throughout the union.”He also shared a video of him with a squirrel and wrote on a classified ad website in South Dakota, “Firearm owner? Interested in repealing firearm laws and actually making a difference here in the state of SD? Come check out my YouTube channel: Guns N Rodents. I’m The guy That walks everywhere open carrying my firearm(s). God speed.”
“Absolutely tragic that something like this happened in Boise Idaho with our population increase comes crime and it’s so very sad. I grew up here and was just at the mall with my kids last night ….this is absolutely horrific. I can tell you a lot more Idahoans will start packing now as they should to protect themselves and their families,” a woman wrote on the shopping center’s comment thread on Facebook.
“The suspect died today at a local hospital,” Boise police confirmed on October 26.
Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee released additional details in a press conference. He said police have been looking at “any social media evidence” to try to find “motivation,” saying the shooter was Jacob Bergquist. It’s not clear whether the shot that killed Bergquist was self-inflicted or whether the weapons were legally possessed.
Mayor Lauren McLean called it a “terrible day. … We lost two people from this community yesterday, and my heart goes out to the families of Jo Acker and Roberto Padilla Arguelles.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Jacob Bergquist Was Dressed in Black When He Showed Up at the Mall Heavily Armed; Police Previously Investigated Him for Owning Firearms
According to the Idaho Statesman, police had “flagged” him in early 2021 in Idaho on “suspicion of illegally possessing firearms” when he “had a run-in with Idaho State Police at the Statehouse on April 2.” The newspaper said Bergquist was “armed with a holstered semiautomatic handgun on his left hip” while recording video at the state Capitol and visiting the governor’s office.
“He went on to say that he was a felon and that by Idaho Code 18-310 he was able to carry a firearm and that he was trying to get the word out to others that they, too, could carry in Idaho,” an officer wrote in a report obtained by the Statesman.
According to the outlet, it was determined he could in fact legally carry a gun in Idaho at that time for two reasons: The first was that a felony he was convicted of in Illinois was a theft, an offense that doesn’t preclude felons from carrying guns in Idaho. The second is that a felony drug offense, which would have barred him from carrying firearms in Idaho, was pleaded down to a misdemeanor in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin online court records show that in 2011 Dunn County charged Bergquist with felony possession of marijuana with intent to deliver when he was living in Eau Claire. The district attorney allowed him to enter into a deferred prosecution agreement that eventually resulted in the felony charge being tossed, and he was convicted only of a misdemeanor. James M. Peterson was listed as the prosecutor.
“Def pleads guilty/Court defers plea/DPA filed/approved: no violations, successfully complete probation count 2,” the court records say about the felony. A DPA is a deferred prosecution agreement. It means that if the defendant completed probation with no violations, the felony charge was dismissed, which it was in 2013. He was ordered to tour a jail, do community service and seek part-time work.
On October 25, 2021, Ada County dispatch “began receiving calls about shots fired in the Boise Towne Square Mall on N. Milwaukee,” Boise police wrote in a news release.
“Callers indicated a white male adult, dressed in black, in possession of guns, had fired multiple shots inside of the building. Evidence indicates the suspect was contacted by a security officer on the first floor of the building near a department store on the west side of the building. The suspect shot the security officer who died at the scene. The suspect then fired multiple rounds inside the building, striking the glass escalator and a second victim who succumbed to his injures at the hospital. The suspect then continued through the mall, firing rounds into the floor resulting in injuries to two females. An additional male victim was taken in a private vehicle to a hospital and treated for injuries sustained during a fall while exiting the mall.”
The chief said in a media conference that the evidence taken from a search at a Fry Street location was still being processed. He confirmed that police are investigating rumors on social media that the suspect had made prior threats. He said they are reviewing his “electronic footprint and social media” and issued preservation orders. “We’re trying to see whether that is fact or rumor at this time.”
He said police were also aware of rumors of conspiracy. He said the community is safe and those rumors are fictitious, saying there is “no threat to the community,” and it’s believed the suspect acted alone.
According to the initial media release from police, around 1:50 p.m. October 25, Boise Police officers “responded to shots fired call at the mall on N. Milwaukee, with early reports that at least one person was shot. Minutes later, officers confronted an individual matching the description of the suspect outside of the mall. Gunfire was exchanged resulting in injury to both the suspect and an officer.”
In an update, police indicated “the first officers arrived on scene and shortly after witnessed a suspect matching the description running from the area. Officers confronted the suspect behind a business on the 500 Block of N. Milwaukee. 1:54pm: Officers reported shots fired. The suspect was facing west toward Milwaukee. There was an exchange of gunfire between the suspect and at least one responding officer. The 68-year-old woman who was injured in her vehicle was on Milwaukee.”
The “shooting that occurred inside and outside the Boise Towne Square Mall this afternoon remains under investigation by the Boise Police Department with assistance from state, local, and federal partners,” the Boise Police Department wrote.
“An exchange of gunfire between the suspect and officer will be investigated separately by the Critical Incident Task Force led by the Meridian Police Department.”
Police noted, “There were three additional victims injured in the shooting. Two of them are identified as a 52-year-old female and a 23-year-old female. They were both injured while inside the store and are recovering from non-life-threatening injuries. A third victim, a 68-year-old female was shot and injured while she was inside her vehicle. She too has non-life-threatening injuries.”
A woman wrote on Facebook, “I locked my store when I heard the shots and we stayed in our back room until we were evacuated by the police.”
On social media, people wrote that a security guard first approached the shooter, although the police have not confirmed that. “I believe the security officer approached the shooter just outside the entrance to Macy’s,” wrote one.
2. Video Showed the Panic at the Scene; the Suspect Had Multiple Firearms
The panic at the scene was captured on video. “A preliminary investigation shows the suspect was in possession of multiple firearms and ammunition on scene at the mall,” police wrote.
“He did have a handgun with him,” the chief said, adding that he fired inside and outside of the mall.
“18 spent shell casings were recovered from inside the building. A search warrant was executed at a residence on Fry Street today in Boise in relation to the investigation. There is also a multi-state effort underway to learn more about the suspect,” police wrote in their October 26 update. “We have been coordinating with our local, state and federal partners to investigate rumors and reports from social media and there is no evidence of additional planned attacks or ongoing threats to the public. All evidence indicates the suspect was acting alone.”
“Two people have been confirmed deceased as a result of their injuries,” police wrote.
“Five additional people were transported with injuries, including the suspect and a responding officer.”
According to police, the suspect acted alone. “Officers continued to respond to the scene and located multiple victims. Working in coordination with mall security protocols, officers worked to evacuate and clear the mall. The mall will remain closed as the investigation continues. At this time, we believe there was only a single shooter involved and there is no ongoing threat to the community at large,” they wrote.
3. Authorities Said They Weren’t Sure of Bergquist’s Motive
“The suspect is in critical condition,” police revealed after the incident. “The officer has been treated and released. No additional information will be released by the Boise Police Department about the other victims treated at the hospital.”
“We really cannot at this time speak to any motivation behind it,” Lee said in an October 25 news conference.
The chief said that authorities have learned that early intervention is incredibly important. Officers “disrupted this cycle of violence” in 2 1/2 minutes, he said. “The courage, the willingness to step into harm’s way” by the officers was what prevented a graver tragedy, Lee said.
Idaho Governor Brad Little wrote on Twitter, “Those injured in today’s unthinkable shooting at the Boise Towne Square Mall are in my prayers. The State of Idaho stands prepared to assist the Boise Police Department as they investigate the shooting.”
4. There Were Previous Disorderly Incidents at the Mall Involving Bergquist
The police chief said in a news conference that authorities “do not believe he had any employment history with the mall. Mall security had contacted him on past occasions; other incidents that had occurred at the mall.”
He said the past calls involved what the mall employees described as “disorderly conduct and trespass calls in nature for disruptive behavior.”
Lee said Bergquist was known to Boise police as well and was the subject of other police reports that he did not detail.
“With the closure of the Boise Towne Square Mall, any individuals who need to retrieve items left in the mall will be able to do so tomorrow. Further information about this will be shared on BPD’s Twitter and Facebook. The scene is secure at this time and no one will be allowed in tonight,” police wrote in a news release.
5. The Mall’s Page Declared People ‘Heart Broken,’ Calling the Shooting a ‘Terrible Tragedy’
Boise Towne Square wrote on Facebook, “We are heart broken and are working closely with the Boise Police Department as they investigate the circumstances that led to this terrible tragedy. We are grateful for their quick response and continued partnership. This is devastating for our entire community, and our thoughts are with the victims’ family and friends during this unimaginable time.”
The page added, “In observance and respect for our community our shopping center will be closed tomorrow. This is a developing investigation and we are directing all inquiries to the Boise Police Department.”
A woman wrote on the comment thread, “An extremely HUGE thank you to your staff members for doing their part in taking care of those involved. They did everything they could to help out and protect their customers. Everyone working in that area had better get the biggest bonus of their lives.”
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