BOISE, Idaho — On Monday, two people were killed in a shooting at the Boise Towne Square mall and several others were injured. The shooter later died in the hospital after a shootout with police.
One of the two people killed in Monday's shooting was 26-year-old Jo Acker, a woman who worked as a security guard at the Boise mall. She was shot and killed when they tried to stop the gunman.
KTVB spoke with Acker's father, Robert Acker, and her partner, Ray Dawn. Robert wanted to clarify his relationship with Jo. Robert told KTVB that to him, Jo was still his son Joseph and when Jo transitioned three years ago, Jo told Robert that she will always be his son.
"You're not supposed to bury your child," he said.
Robert added that when asked about how Jo wanted to be addressed, Jo would say, 'address me how you see me, if you see me as Joseph, call me Joseph. If you see me as Jo, call me Jo. Just see me as a person.'
Jo's partner, Ray, shared with KTVB what it was like the last time they saw each other.
"She said 'Have a good day,' and I said the same thing I always do which is, 'I love when I see you,' and then she gave me a kiss," Dawn said.
Robert Acker said when he first heard what happened, he didn't think it was real.
"It couldn't be. no, he'll be coming through the door here any minute," he said. "But then it slowly hits home, that'll you'll never be able to hug him again, tell him you love him, no more forehead bumps, he was the biggest part of my life and hers."
They said the 26-year-old was loving, kind-hearted and always wanted to be the voice of peace and reason. Jo dying while helping others is how Jo would have wanted to leave this earth, they added.
"That's exactly how she would have wanted to go, we always talked if 'I'm gonna die that's the way I'm doing it,'" Dawn said.
"His little beautiful daughter is going to know what a hero her dad was," Robert said.
Jo Acker was a hero born out of tragedy but one who will never be forgotten.
"He would've done anything for anybody and he did, he may have not done it intentionally, but he gave his life so a lot of people could go home that day," Robert said. "He's my hero."
Watch more Local News:
See the latest news from around the Treasure Valley and the Gem State in our YouTube playlist: