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More Treasure Valley law enforcement agencies had contact with mall shooter

Seven months before the rampage, police responded to Walmart in Meridian after Jacob Bergquist took a gun into the store and got into a confrontation with a manager.

MERIDIAN, Idaho — A gunman who went on a shooting rampage at the Boise Towne Square Mall last month was warned by police months prior after a confrontation over carrying a gun inside Walmart. 

The March 2021 incident was one of several alarming interactions between Jacob Bergquist and law enforcement prior to the shooting.

Bergquist shot and killed two people and injured four others at the mall on Oct. 25, then died after a shootout with police in the parking lot. It is unclear whether the 27-year-old was killed by an officer's bullet or took his own life. 

Boise Police, Boise Towne Square Mall security, and Idaho State Police were all familiar with the gunman before the deadly rampage, according to law enforcement records.

Bergquist was convicted of felony retail theft in Chicago, Illinois and had a misdemeanor drug possession charge in Wisconsin. On his now-deleted YouTube channel, Bergquist posted videos about how he was a felon who owned guns and strongly advocated for the restoration of felons' firearms rights. He also described himself as disliking Hispanics.

On March 7, police received a call for service from Walmart in Meridian about Bergquist carrying a firearm in the store.

Bergquist, an employee at the Walmart, was openly carrying a gun while shopping at the Fairview Avenue store, Meridian Police spokeswoman Kelsey Johnston said.

"A manager at Walmart requested that Bergquist remove his firearm per store policy and Jacob became verbally abusive to the manager and then left the store," Johnston said in a statement.

Staff at the Walmart called Meridian Police to report the incident, and an responding officer found Bergquist in a nearby parking lot. Bergquist was not arrested or charged, but was given a warning and told not to return to the Walmart, police said.

Boise Police also recorded multiple interactions between law enforcement and Bergquist while he was openly carrying a gun in Boise this spring. 

At least two officers referred police reports to the Ada County Prosecutor's office to determine whether Bergquist, a felon, was allowed to possess a firearm. ISP also asked the prosecutor's office to look into Bergquist after a trooper came into contact with him at the Statehouse in April.

According to a police report, Bergquist walked into the Capitol with a gun, and told people he was a convicted felon but was allowed to own guns in Idaho. He requested to interview Idaho Gov. Brad Little to get his thoughts on felons owning guns.

The Ada County Prosecutor's Office said the office could not take any action against Bergquist for carrying a firearm because 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.