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Several months after Boise mall shooting, Ada County coroner says shooter died by suicide

UPDATED: Tue., June 14, 2022

Police and emergency crews respond to a shooting at the Boise Towne Square shopping mall in Boise.  (Spokesman-Review wire archives)
Police and emergency crews respond to a shooting at the Boise Towne Square shopping mall in Boise. (Spokesman-Review wire archives)
By Alex Brizee The Idaho Statesman

The 27-year-old man who fired over a dozen rounds inside the Boise Towne Square mall last year, killing two and injuring at least four others, died by suicide the day after the deadly shooting, an autopsy report confirmed.

Jacob Bergquist walked into the Boise Towne Square late October and killed 49-year-old Rupert resident Roberto Padilla Arguelles and 26-year-old security guard, military veteran and Caldwell resident Jo Acker. Bergquist also injured four other people, and a fifth man was injured while evacuating the mall.

Bergquist died the following day at St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, in Boise, at 11:15 a.m. due to a gunshot wound to the head, according to an autopsy report from the Ada County Coroner’s Office obtained by the Idaho Statesman through a public records request. KTVB first reported on the report.

The Boise Police Department has never confirmed how Bergquist died and previously said after an exchange of fire with police he “ran behind a nearby dumpster and officers heard an additional shot fired,” according to an October news release.

Spokesperson Haley Williams declined to provide new information Tuesday but confirmed the shooting underwent the typical critical task force investigation. The CITF investigation was led by the Meridian Police Department, Williams told the Statesman in an email, but the investigation’s status is unclear. The Statesman has reached out to the Meridian Police Department for a status update on the CITF report.

Victim’s family alleges police failed to stop Bergquist

In April, Padilla Arguelles’ family filed a tort claim — a necessary precursor to a lawsuit — against 12 parties, including the Boise Police Department, Idaho State Police, the Meridian Police Department, the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office and the Ada County Sheriff’s Office, the Statesman previously reported.

Bergquist had multiple encounters with the police prior to the shooting. The family alleged that the police’s failure to stop Bergquist in the multiple encounters they had with him resulted in Bergquist killing Padilla Arguelles.

“Leading up to the fatal shooting at the Boise Towne Square Mall, local authorities … were familiar with Bergquist and were aware of the heightened risk that he presented to the community,” the claim stated.

Under Idaho law, once a tort claim has been filed the agency has 90 days to respond, and the claimant can sue the agency if it denies any alleged wrongdoing. In this case, the 12 agencies have until mid-July to respond.

Boise-based attorney Jason Monteleone, who is representing Padilla Arguelles’ family, previously mentioned he also planned to file a notice on behalf of the family to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, alleging the agency also failed to stop Bergquist. He confirmed Tuesday the notice hasn’t been submitted yet as they are waiting on record requests.

“Bergquist was so clearly on law enforcement’s radar due to being an out-of-state convicted felon possessing a firearm in Idaho,” Monteleone told the Statesman in an email, alleging Bergquist violated state law. “Someone should have taken away his guns, including possibly ATFE.”

But days after the shooting, the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office determined that Bergquist was not prohibited from owning a firearm, and the office “could not take any action,” according to a statement emailed to the Statesman in October.

Bergquist was reported to the police multiple times regarding his behavior in the months leading up to the slaying. On one occasion in June 2021, a 911 caller reported Bergquist entering the same mall with a gun on his hip and two ammo magazines “strapped to his back,” the Statesman reported.

During that June incident, dispatch records said Bergquist had “been seen on numerous occasions open carrying a handgun (downtown) and now has moved to (the) mall area,“ according to records from the Ada County Emergency Dispatch previously obtained by the Statesman with a records request.

In addition, Boise Towne Square’s security company, Professional Security Consultants Inc., was cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for a single serious violation in April and was fined $14,502, the Statesman previously reported.

According to a copy of the OSHA citation previously obtained by the Statesman, the Los Angeles-based company exposed its employees to hazards that cause or are likely to cause death or serious injury without properly protecting employees.

Reporters Nicole Blanchard, Sally Krutzig and Ian Max Stevenson contributed.

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