BOISE, Idaho — Reports from the Boise Police Dept. (BPD) obtained by 7Investigates detail multiple sightings or interactions law enforcement officers had with Jacob Bergquist, the man who killed two people and injured four others at Boise Towne Square Mall on Oct. 25.
Bergquist was shot at by a BPD officer after fleeing the mall and shooting at responding officers. It's unclear at this time if any of those bullets struck Bergquist.
Police say he later died from his injuries, although exactly how he died is still under investigation.
While police continue to investigate Bergquist's motive, BPD Chief Ryan Lee told reporters on Oct. 26 that Bergquist was known to BPD and security at Boise Towne Square.
7Investigates obtained multiple police reports via public records request detailing occasions officers were warned of Bergquist or saw him between April 27 and May 2, 2021.
The first report was filed by Officer Zach Powell. In the report Powell outlines Bergquist's criminal history, which includes a misdemeanor crime in Dunn County, Wis. and a felony retail theft from Chicago, Ill.
Powell reported both himself and Officer Christopher Zimmer have "witnessed Bergquist in possession of a firearm" and the firearm looks similar to the one shown in his since-deleted YouTube channel.
April 27, 2021
On April 27, Officer Zimmer said he approached the pedestrian crosswalk at the intersection of 8th and Front Streets in downtown Boise when he noticed a man wearing a tank top with the words "Youtube Guns N Rodents" on it.
Zimmer then reported the man looked at him, stood at the intersection for a few moments, then crossed the street against the pedestrian walk signal. At this moment, Zimmer became suspicious the man was trying to elicit a confrontation with him and did not attempt to make contact with him.
After that interaction, Zimmer decided to review the YouTube channel mentioned on the man's shirt, which was later revealed to belong to Bergquist. He determined the man he saw was Bergquist.
Zimmer said he saw multiple videos in which Berquist openly spoke about being a convicted felon and advocating for the restoration of a felon's right to own a gun. He also claimed Berquist's content indicated he was very racist "with a strong dislike towards Central American immigrants."
One of the people killed by Bergquist in the mall shooting, 49-year-old Roberto Padilla Arguelles, was born in Zacatecas, Mexico and had come to Idaho to work under the H2A program for the past four years.
Due to Bergquist's apparent racist language and dislike for law enforcement, Officer Zimmer alerted officers working in the downtown area about Bergquist.
That same day, Zimmer alerted Officer Powell of "a concerning subject" that was causing a disturbance at the Idaho State Capitol Building.
According to an Idaho State Police report, Bergquist walked into the Idaho State Capitol carrying a gun on April 2 and admitted that he was a convicted felon. Bergquist then told the receptionist for Idaho Gov. Brad Little that he wanted to interview the governor about his thoughts on convicted felons being able to carry guns.
Officer Powell stated in a police report that he learned Bergquist also had a recent interaction with a state senator in South Dakota. According to law enforcement in South Dakota, Bergquist discussed with the senator repealing a state statute that prohibits a convicted felon from possessing a firearm - the same topic he attempted to interview Little about.
May 2, 2021
Officer Powell said he was off-duty near Bogus Basin and Hill Roads when he spotted Bergquist in front of a Jackson's Food Store on May 2, according to a police report.
Bergquist was carrying a handgun on his left hip at the time of the encounter. Powell said another man was with Bergquist and was armed with what appeared to be a Glock.
When Powell returned to work the next day he began looking into Bergquist's YouTube channel and saw information indicating that Bergquist was a felon in possession of a firearm.
Both Zimmer's and Powell's reports state it was unknown whether Bergquist was prohibited from possessing a gun. Police requested both reports be reviewed by the Ada County Prosecutor's Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
On Friday, 7Investigates heard back from an ATF spokesperson in Seattle. They said they couldn't comment on whether Boise police did in fact pass along that report or request for investigation. They said "it's part of the Boise Police Department's investigation".
Idaho State Police (ISP) trooper made a similar request regarding Bergquist in April. The ISP trooper referred information from his interaction to the Ada County Prosecutor's Office, and asked that the office investigate potential charges for violation of Idaho Code sections 18-3316 (unlawful possession of a firearm) and 18-310.
Ada County Prosecutor's Office public information officer Emily Lowe said the office could not take any action against Bergquist for carrying a firearm. She said after investigating the reports, the office discovered the Illinois theft was not on the list of felony convictions that prohibit firearm possession under Idaho law, as outlined in Idaho Code Section 18-310.
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