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Family of man killed in Boise mall shooting files notice of tort claim

The notice on behalf of Roberto Padilla Arguelles' family alleges officials knew the killer "presented a heightened risk."

BOISE, Idaho — The family of Roberto Padilla Arguelles, one of two people shot and killed by a man who opened fire at Boise Towne Square on Oct. 25, 2021, has filed a notice tort claim against several state and local agencies.

The notice from Padilla’s family alleges that authorities were familiar with the attacker, Jacob Bergquist, and “aware of the heightened risk that he presented to the community,” but took no known legal action or “other dissuasion” against him.

In the notice filed by attorney Jason Monteleone, family members assert that their damages are $500,000 from each respondent named in the claim, for costs that include medical care, funeral expenses, counseling, loss of financial support resulting from Padilla's death, and loss of "companionship, services, support, care, comfort, and society" due to Padilla's death.  

Bergquist shot and killed a security guard, Jo Acker, when Acker confronted him about reports that people had seen Bergquist carrying a gun in the mall. After shooting Acker, Bergquist continued to fire, killing Padilla and injuring three other people. Bergquist later died after being wounded in an exchange of gunfire with Boise Police near the mall.

The notice of tort claim cites occasions on which Bergquist openly carried guns into buildings where open carry of firearms was prohibited, including March 7, 2021, at a Meridian Walmart, June 17, 2021, at Boise Towne Square, and June 28, 2021, at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center.

Regarding the incident at Walmart, Meridian Police investigated Bergquist and informed him that he was banned from the Walmart, but “no known legal action was taken against him,” the claim states.

In the incident at Saint Alphonsus, the claim states, “it was reported that Bergquist was later questioned” by Boise Police, and that Bergquist told police he had placed his gun in his backpack while on the Saint Alphonsus campus.

Regarding the June 17 report of Bergquist openly carrying a gun at Boise Towne Square, the claim states that Ada County Dispatch notes indicated Bergquist had been seen “on numerous occasions open carrying a handgun and now has moved to the mall area.”

The claim also mentions reports that on April 2, 2021, an Idaho State Police trooper at the state capitol building followed Bergquist as he openly carried a gun into the governor’s office and asked to interview the governor about persons convicted of felonies being able to carry guns. The trooper asked the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office to investigate possible charges. The prosecutor did not file charges against Bergquist, saying Bergquist’s theft conviction in Illinois was not among the felony convictions listed as disqualifying a person from firearm possession in Idaho.

A few weeks after Bergquist’s visit to the statehouse, a Boise Police officer on April 27, 2021, saw Bergquist downtown, carrying a pistol on his left hip and two magazines of ammunition on his lower back. The tort claim notice states the officer did not contact Bergquist but did document and report what he saw, including what the officer suspected was an attempt to “elicit contact in order to have a confrontation...” The notice states that the officer later determined Bergquist was a convicted felon and operated a “racist YouTube page.” Days after that encounter, another officer who was off-duty at the time saw two men with guns, including Bergquist, talking outside a convenience store. The notice of tort claim states that officer later asked the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to review whether Bergquist was prohibited from carrying firearms.

The notice of tort claim is addressed to Idaho State Police, Ada County Sheriff's Office, Boise Police Department, Ada County Commissioners, Boise City Council, Ada County Prosecutor Jan Bennetts, Boise City Attorney Jamie Sullivan, Meridian Police Department, Meridian City Council and Meridian City Attorney William L.M. Nary.

KTVB on Friday reached out to the named state agencies, the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office, and city and police officials in Boise and Meridian for comment on the claim.

The communications director for the Boise Mayor’s Office responded with the following statement:

“It is clear that the events of Oct. 25, 2021, impacted the families of those present at the Boise Towne Square as well as the community. The City of Boise has reviewed this tort claim. The filing of a notice of tort claim is an administrative measure to preserve an individual's ability to file a lawsuit in the future, should it be warranted. Unfortunately, the city is not able to grant interviews due to the potential of future litigation. The city is, however, referring media to the numerous news releases, on camera statements and public records requests released from the city about this tragic event.”

The City of Meridian has forwarded the claim to the city's insurer.

The Ada County Prosecutor's Office replied by saying the office "does not comment on pending matters or pending litigation."

The Idaho Secretary of State's Office forwarded the notice to the Idaho Attorney General's Office, who had no comment. ISP also had no comment, due to the pending litigation.

The notice of tort claim is not a lawsuit, but notifies the parties involved that the family is reserving the right to file a lawsuit. Such a notice must be filed within 180 days of an incident or the date at which injury “should have been reasonably discovered.”

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