The Idaho gunman who killed 2 in a shooting at a Boise mall earlier this week is a convicted felon who previously was investigated by State Police and local prosecutors over a suspicion that he may have been illegally possessing firearms, according to a report.
The development surrounding Jacob Bergquist’s past history with law enforcement comes as the Boise Police Department is asking the community to join them at the Boise Towne Square Mall Thursday evening for a vigil “to reflect on the lives lost and honor the survivors.”
Bergquist, who died Tuesday at a hospital following the shooting the day before, had a run-in with Idaho State Police at the Statehouse building on April 2, the Idaho Statesman reports.
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The newspaper, citing police documents, says a state trooper observed Bergquist inside the building that day apparently filming a video while “armed with a holstered semiautomatic handgun on his left hip.”
The trooper followed Bergquist to the governor’s office, where he reportedly heard him tell a receptionist that he wanted to speak to the governor “to get his thoughts on persons convicted of felonies being able to carry guns.”
“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,” the trooper wrote in a police report viewed by the newspaper.
Although it is legal to carry firearms at the Statehouse, the trooper later asked the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office to investigate Bergquist for possible violation of Idaho Code 18-310, which outlines how some individuals are not allowed to possess firearms if they are convicted of certain felonies, the Idaho Statesman reports.
The Prosecutor’s Office then completed their review and cleared Bergquist of any wrongdoing.
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“Idaho Code Section 18-310(2) has a list of qualifying felony convictions which prohibit firearm possession. Mr. Bergquist did not have a felony conviction for a listed offense,” the Office told the Idaho Statesman. “He was prosecuted for a qualifying offense in another state, but that case did not result in a qualifying felony conviction. On July 28, 2011, a misdemeanor judgment of conviction was entered in that case. He was prosecuted for a retail theft offense in Illinois which does not qualify under 18-310 as a qualifying felony prior conviction. Our office could not take any action.”
Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee said Tuesday afternoon that law enforcement officers had searched a Boise home and investigators were combing through social media sites and other evidence in an effort to understand Bergquist’s motives for this week’s shooting.
“Anything to help us understand motivation,” Lee said. “We’ve been working with our partners at the local, state and federal level to conduct interviews with people who knew him,” Lee said, “to try to understand anything we can about why this event happened, and why it happened in the location that it did.”
Bergquist was known to Boise police from previous reports of disorderly conduct or trespassing, Lee said.
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“We have had contact with him in the past. We did not have any reason to arrest him,” he said.
Bergquist never worked at the mall, but was frequently there and had previously been contacted by security guards for disorderly behavior, Lee added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.