BOISE, Idaho — Members of the Boise Police Department encountered the Boise mall shooter downtown multiple times while the man was armed, according to reports obtained by The Idaho Statesman.
Police reports show that officers observed Jacob Bergquist — the man authorities say killed two people and injured several others after opening fire inside the Boise Towne Square on Oct. 25 — in several locations while carrying a gun.
On April 27, an officer said he saw Bergquist in downtown Boise in a manner that caused him concern. BPD Officer Christopher Zimmer was assigned to a bicycle unit when he made eye contact with Bergquist, according to police reports. Zimmer wrote that Bergquist saw him and then waited for a period of time to cross a street without the pedestrian walk symbol active.
“The jaywalking violation in front of me made me suspicious the male was trying to elicit contact in order to have a confrontation with me,” Zimmer wrote.
The officer did not talk to Bergquist, but indicated that he took a photo of him walking away. Zimmer wrote that Bergquist had a handgun on his left hip and two magazines in the small of his back. Bergquist was wearing a tank top advertising his YouTube page, Guns N Rodents. Zimmer said he later reviewed the YouTube page, which now has been taken down, and found that Bergquist talked about being a convicted felon and about gun laws in Idaho.
Zimmer also noted that Bergquist’s videos showed he was “very racist” and strongly disliked immigrants from Central America.
“Bergquist’s video content gave me the impression the rodent name in his channel is in regards to immigrants to the United States,” Zimmer wrote in his report.
Zimmer wrote that he notified other officers working downtown about Bergquist.
In a separate report, another Boise officer assigned to the bicycle unit documented Bergquist’s actions. Officer Zach Powell wrote that he was notified by Zimmer of a “concerning subject” and that Idaho State Police had dealt with this subject in the Idaho Statehouse earlier that month. State troopers in the Capitol filed a report on Bergquist on April 2 after he tried to talk to Gov. Brad Little about laws governing the ability of felons to have guns.
On April 30, days after Powell received the report from Zimmer, Powell said he was off-duty when he noticed Bergquist riding a bicycle a few blocks away from the James A. McClure Federal Building and Courthouse. Powell noticed that Bergquist was wearing the same tank top that featured the Guns N Rodents branding noted in Zimmer’s report.
On May 2, Powell was again off-duty when he said he recognized Bergquist standing in front of a Jacksons convenience store near Bogus Basin and Hill roads. He again saw Bergquist wearing the tank top. Powell also noticed that Bergquist was carrying a handgun on his left hip, and Bergquist was talking with a man who also was carrying a gun.
When Powell next clocked in for duty, he wrote in a report that he looked up Bergquist’s YouTube page and observed a video that featured Bergquist at a gun range. Powell noted that it was a similar handgun he had seen in Bergquist’s possession and that the subject also described himself as a convicted felon.
Powell noted in his report that it was “undetermined if Bergquist is a prohibited possessor” of firearms under Idaho law. He requested the case be reviewed by the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives.
However, according to state law, Bergquist’s previous felony conviction did not bar him from possessing guns in Idaho. Bergquist was convicted of a Class 3 felony theft charge in Illinois in 2012, according to previous Idaho Statesman reporting. That felony theft conviction would not bar someone from possessing a gun in Idaho.
Bergquist was arrested in Wisconsin the year before and charged with possession of marijuana and intent to sell. Although that charge is a felony, he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and a misdemeanor judgment of conviction was entered in that case.
Two people, 26-year-old Jo Acker and 49-year-old Roberto Padilla Arguelles, were shot and killed during the Boise mall shooting. At least five other people, including a police officer, were injured.
Bergquist, who fired 18 rounds inside the mall, ran outside and continued firing, including exchanging gunfire with police. Bergquist died at a Boise hospital the following day.
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