Boise police report finds no motive for mall shooting; more details revealed
On the afternoon of Oct. 25, 2021, Jacob Bergquist began his shooting spree at the Boise Towne Square mall by gunning down Jo Acker, who was working security and walked over after she noticed he was carrying a weapon, according to a 465-page police report just released to the Idaho Press.
The Idaho Press will continue reporting on the document as more information is uncovered.
His actions left three dead, including himself, and four injured. But after an investigation, law enforcement was unable to determine a motive for the violence.
A portion of the report details the nature of some injuries, life-saving measures, what was found in the shooter’s home and the phone call he made that afternoon to someone who appears to be his father.
“(redacted) received a call from Jacob where he told him that he had just killed or shot a lot of people. Jacob told (redacted) that he and the family were to blame for what happened,” the report said. “Jacob hung up the phone after telling (redacted) ‘I have to go kill myself now.’”
In that phone call, the man who appears to be Bergquist’s father recalled him saying the word transgender and hearing sirens in the background. Acker identified as transgender.
The police report said the man was hopeful his son was confused about what had happened.
During the approximately 24 minutes the gunman was in the mall, Acker, 26, radioed that she was going to contact someone regarding an illegal firearm in the mall. As Bergquist turned away from their conversation, he shot her multiple times.
He ran into Macy’s and shot toward the escalators, where he killed Roberto Padilla Argüelles.
When Cpl. Brek Orton got inside the mall, he found Sgt. Brett Powell on the escalator with Padilla Argüelles, 49, who was lying face down.
Another officer arrived and the three started providing care, cutting Padilla Argüelles’ shirt off and pulling him onto flat ground. Orton told Powell to apply pressure on his head wound with a towel. Then, Padilla Argüelles lost his pulse.
Orton started performing CPR, stopping only to put on a chest seal. Fire personnel arrived on the scene and Padilla Argüelles briefly regained a pulse. He later died from his injuries.
After he left the mall, Bergquist fled on foot and began shooting at officers, the report said.
One officer, Chris Dance, was hurt as a bullet fragment hit his eye, according to the report. He was pulled to the Café Zupas parking lot to be evaluated, where a sergeant noted there was debris trapped under his eyelid.
One of the bullets missed, hitting a white SUV and traveling through an elderly woman’s jaw and face. The bullet left through the driver’s side window.
Berquist, 27, shot himself.
The shooter was handcuffed behind a dumpster. Then law enforcement requested medics and began first aid. Officer Matt Janicek rode with Bergquist in the ambulance to Saint Alphonsus and stayed with him in the emergency room. Bergquist was later moved to the ICU. A Saint Alphonsus nurse informed Cpl. Brad Vickhammer that the gunman was on life support. He died around 11:15 a.m. on Oct. 26, the report said.
On Oct. 26, law enforcement went to where Bergquist lived, according to the report. Dennis Herron performed CSI duties and went with detectives to help photograph and collect evidence. In the report, Herron wrote that he could see spent casings and brass around the stairs, as if they were fired at that location.
Inside, there were spent rounds of ammunition, ammunition boxes and firearm boxes. He found a small derringer-style firearm and a smaller tactical-style knife sitting on the kitchen counter and breakfast bar, the report said. The couch and some of the living room walls had what looked like bullet holes, Herron wrote.
In Bergquist’s bedroom, Herron found clothing, trash, firearms, firearm cases and ammunition boxes, among other things. Just outside the bathroom door was a small orange steel shooting target.
Bergquist had a felony conviction for retail theft in Illinois, the Idaho Press previously reported, but that is not on the list of offenses that prohibit firearm possession in Idaho.
Officers also conducted interviews with victims at area hospitals as well as people inside the mall. They reviewed video footage from the mall. Others wrote to the Boise Police Department offering information. They spoke to people who knew Bergquist, including a man who was renting a room to the shooter.
He described Bergquist as a “gun enthusiast” who was “always playing” with his firearms. He said a few months before, he started noticing Bergquist appeared depressed and borderline suicidal, according to the report. The man said he offered to pay for a therapist but Bergquist had refused professional help.
However, he said Bergquist had always been very anxious, depressed and paranoid. Bergquist hadn’t been paying much rent, the landlord said, and he was in the process of evicting him, although Bergquist had not yet been aware of the eviction.
“(redacted) described Jacob’s attire when he would leave the house as if he was ‘going to war all of the time,’” the report said.
At the mall, Detective Michael Miraglia and Officer Chuck Roath introduced themselves to an elderly couple who took shelter at a Lane Bryant store. Both were visibly shaken up, the report said. The woman had watched Bergquist shoot Acker and immediately grabbed her husband’s right arm and began pulling him toward Lane Bryant.
“During this time, (redacted) stated, ‘I thought for sure we were going to get killed,’” the report said.
Staff members inside Lane Bryant took the two to a back storage room where they locked the door and hid.
“She did not want to let go of her husband thinking that the suspect was going to come through that door at any moment,” the report said.
Later that day, the two called to say the husband’s clothing had a bullet hole. Both were even more “startled” by “how close they were to getting shot and/or killed.”
Roath interviewed the three staff members at Lane Bryant who hid with the elderly couple.
“All parties requested victim services due to the tragic events,” the report said. “Some of which mentioned having PTSD and anxiety from this incident as well.”
Carolyn Komatsoulis covers Boise, Meridian and Ada County. Contact her at 208-465-8107 and follow her on Twitter @CKomatsoulis.