Suspect in Boise mall shooting dies; injured victims expected to survive
The suspect in the shooting that killed two people and injured four others in a Boise, Idaho, mall has died, city officials announced Tuesday. The four injured victims, including a city police officer, are all expected to survive.
It is not yet clear how the suspect died, though police said there was an “exchange of gunfire” before he was apprehended Monday afternoon.
The two deceased victims were identified Tuesday as 26-year-old Jo Acker and 49-year-old Roberto Padilla Arguelles. The four injured victims have been identified as a 52-year-old female, a 23-year-old female, a 68-year-old female, and the police officer.
“I can’t even put into words how completely devastated and shattered I am,” a woman who appears to be Acker’s sister wrote on Facebook. “Jo you were always kind and loving… you always had such an enormous heart of gold.”
The suspect was identified as 27-year-old Jacob Bergquist. Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee said Tuesday that there are no known connections between the suspect and the victims, but said the suspect was known to police and had been the subject of previous police reports.
Lee said police do not believe he was ever employed at the mall, but said that he was “known to the mall” and that mall security had spoken to him on previous occasions about disruptive conduct and trespassing.
Police responded to reports of a White male shooter at the Boise Towne Square Mall at approximately 1:50 p.m. local time, the city said Tuesday. Before police arrived, the city said “evidence indicates” the suspect was approached by a security officer on the first floor. The suspect fatally shot the officer, then fired “multiple rounds” in the building, hitting a glass escalator and striking the second deceased victim, the city said.
The suspect then kept walking through the mall, firing at the floor in a way that injured two women, the city said. Lee said it’s not clear what the suspect was aiming at when he shot “at a downward angle” and struck the floor.
When officers arrived, they found the suspect running from the scene outside of the mall. Lee said the officers came under “immediate fire.”
An “exchange of gunfire” led to the suspect’s arrest but also caused two more injuries: a 68-year-old woman who was injured in her vehicle, and a Boise police officer who was shot through the window of his vehicle.
The city said it appears the bullet hit the officer’s hat, and that the officer was injured by the shattered glass from his window. The officer has since been released from the hospital. Monday night, police said the suspect had been hospitalized in “critical condition.”
A preliminary investigation suggests the suspect had multiple firearms, the city said, adding that 18 spent shell casings were recovered from the mall. The suspect’s motive is not yet clear, but authorities say they believe he was acting alone. It is not yet clear if the suspect obtained the firearms legally.
During a Tuesday press conference, Lee praised the bravery of the officers who responded to the shooting. He said officers were on the scene in less than three minutes after they were called.
“Frankly, the courage, the willingness to step into harm’s way — to risk their own lives and maybe not make it home — to protect this community is what kept this from being a more grave tragedy,” he said.