The Boise Shooting

My Thoughts and Feelings

The Background and Situation

Jacob Bergquist was a white supremacist / convicted felon who moved to Boise because Idaho has more lax gun control laws. While he was here he was known for talking about firearms (especially how he believed felons should be legally allowed to own them), conservative politics, harassing police, and causing disturbances in the community by harassing businesses for not letting him open carry in their stores. He also really enjoyed illegal firearm target practicing, and did so as recently as October 21st.

On October 25th he went to the Boise mall and shot and killed Roberto Padilla Arguelles (a Hispanic man) and Jo Acker (a transgender woman and returned veteran). This murderer lived less than 3 miles from me. The shooting took place less than 3 miles from my house, which is less than a mile and a half from my current job. I used to work at that mall.

I am a bisexual person who has long hair and likes to wear colorful clothing. Last year during election season I was so scared of being targeted by an extremist that I exclusively wore gray clothes and only went out when I HAD to. Now someone from the queer community is dead because of an extremist. Its the exact fear I had last year, but she just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I am not being hyperbolic when I say that I do not feel safe in my own community.

Moving Forward

For a long time many of us have believed that Boise is a nice, safe place which somehow found the magic ingredient to be immune from bigger city problems. Well, those days are gone. Boise has seen refugee children get senselessly stabbed to death at their own birthday parties. Boise elected Ryan Davidson as county commissioner, a man who attended a nazi rally in 2020 (he is in the red shirt behind the nazi with the vest). Boise has right-wing extremists asking questions like “When do we get to use the guns? That’s not a joke. … How many elections are they going to steal before we kill these people?” in broad daylight and are met with applause. Now Boise has seen people of color and queer folks killed by an extremist at the shopping mall. I was fortunate enough not to be at the mall on the 25th, but next time it may be at a bar, grocery store, school, or church.

Unfortunately Boise is a beacon for these violent folks. Local police didn’t arrest this murderer for illegally being in possession of a firearm and harassing businesses and government agencies multiple times. The reason that he was permitted to own a gun even though he was a convicted felon is because Idaho Code Section 18-310(2) doesn’t list his felony theft conviction as a reason to remove his ability to own guns in Idaho. In his own words he publicly talked about how Idaho’s gun control laws are ideal for him because the state’s gun control laws supersede the federal ones. Idaho so strongly believes in it’s current gun control laws that this soon-to-be mass shooter faced no repercussions for walking into the capitol armed with a semi-automatic handgun and asking to speak to the governor. Despite the real danger that even they faced, we can’t count on politicians changing those laws to prevent this from happening again, because they are the ones who have created and enabled this climate which will continue to attract and embolden violent extremists. Our own Lieutenant Governor has been known to brandish guns in her political statements. On top of that, it took over 24 hours for police to release the name of the murderer. During this time they expended a lot of effort to scrub the internet of his social media presence. Scrubbing his content allows less-than-true narratives to emerge; my guess is folks will blame mental health or simply say “we’ll never know his motives”, like with the Las Vegas shooting. At this point KTVB is only saying “Boise PD was alerted about his concerning beliefs and behavior”, which is a dishonest way of reporting that he was a racist extremist. Luckily, some sleuths like myself were able to find and archive some stuff before it got scrubbed. These things clearly show how he was a far-right-wing white supremacist who had a deep hatred for minorities, was a convicted felon who unlawfully and aggressively owned guns, and was a known danger to the community yet government officials did nothing. These behaviors from our governmental institutions send a strong message that right-wing extremism is not only welcomed and even protected here, but if it gets out of hand they will try to delete all of the public warning signs in an effort to whitewash your history and protect the right-wing political narrative.

I have seen friends dive head first into political actions to try and actualize systemic changes, but of course Idaho keeps descending further and further into right-wing extremism. I have seen friends dedicate their entire lives to fighting cultural extremist hate to make Idaho a better place, only to watch them get so burned out and disillusioned that they move out of the state or even the country. Idaho and America as a whole refuses to take pro-active action to point out and eliminate right-wing extremism. Idaho and America as a whole refuses to, as the 2nd Amendment calls for, regulate its militia, and all of these shootings are the deadly consequences of that lack of gun control. Jo Acker was a returned combat veteran, and instead of dying in combat she died from an attack right here in Boise. I have had queer friends tell me that it is time to arm up and be ready to shoot an extremist if the time comes, but I am a pacifist so that is not an option for me.

The Options

I feel so backed into a corner with all of this, and the way I see it is there are only 3 options:

  1. Continue living life as normal with the understanding that as a queer person I am significantly more likely to be murdered.
  2. Try to hide my queerness as best as I can and not go in public spaces to mitigate my chances of being targeted and murdered.
  3. Move to another state / country where the chances of me being murdered in general are significantly lower.

Unfortunately, I may have to take option 2 until option 3 is a possibility for me. I just pray that all of my family and friends stay safe if they take option 1 or 2.

I feel so helpless. I feel so vulnerable. I feel so hopeless. I wish the leaders of my community, state, and nation would take real action to help me feel safe in my own hometown.


Relevant links on the topic

Each section is presented in chronological order

Archived images and videos

Original racist YouTube channel description

Screenshot of redirective channel description

Rebooted channel description

“GUNS N RODENTS IS HARD ON POLICE?? – JACOB BERGQUIST V BOISE PD” is a now-deleted video which was recorded at the Idaho capitol and likely uploaded on April 8th, 2021. It was originally hosted here, was posted here, and screenshots/thumbnails can be found here and here.

Yelp reviews

Openly talking about him open carrying in Meridian in comments (See: “Guns n Rodents”) : 1, 2

Screenshot of now-removed video of him illegally target practicing 3 days before the shooting | a partial archive here | full archive here

His house on Fry street in Boise, ID

Allegedly his car which is covered in gun stickers

Mugshot of woman who looted Jo Acker’s body as she was dying

Reddit Conversations from local subs

Lots of police at the mall

Shooting at Boise Mall

Damnit

Active shooter update

Stay away from Boise Towne Square… there was a shooting situation and it’s unclear what went down

Milwaukee is closed from Franklin to Emerald

Boise Police’s press conference on Boise mall shooting that left 5 people and an officer injured

A Tweet from Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin on the Boise Mall shooting situation

BPD: 2 people killed, 4 others, including a police officer, injured in Boise mall shooting

A reminder that it’s okay and normal to be upset/uneasy/depressed/angry/etc at what happened at Boise Town Square

Security Guard Killed In Mall Shooting Identified by Family.

Town Square Mall shooter is dead.

Boise Police hold a press conference on Monday’s mall shooting

Here’s the shooter practicing at the gun range 3 days before shooting everyone.

Statement from a restaurant in Boise Towne Square I work at, after the shooting the employees witnessed there yesterday. They also refused to lock the doors until corporate said it was “okay”.

Boise Towne Square Shooting Scandal Brewing: Lawsuits Will Be Coming

murderer’s scrubbed video looks like it’s at the boise capitol building.

Documents: Boise mall shooter wanted to interview Gov. Brad Little

Community Vigil: Reflecting on the Lives Lost and Honoring Survivors [Thursday, October 28 at 7 p.m.]

Trick or treating at Boise Mall

Prosecutors Declined To Press Charges Against Mall Shooter (Evidence)

Boise mall shooter was a far-right extremist who stalked local antifascists at rally

Less than a week after a deadly mass shooting due to lax gun control laws, Janice McGeachin and Ammon Bundy are holding a gun rights seminar

5 shootings across the Treasure Valley in the past 12 days. What we know of each incident.

Police: Idaho woman stole items from victim in mall shooting

Prosecutors: Woman stole rings, shoelaces, gun belt from slain security guard after Boise mall shooting

Boise shooter YouTube about page

Jacob Bergquist at my gym. I knew this guy was a weirdo from the moment I saw him

News Articles

KTVB

BPD: 2 people killed, 5 others, including suspect and a police officer, injured in Boise mall shooting

Timeline: What we know about the Boise Towne Square shooting

False social media post claims multiple suspects were involved in Boise Towne Square shooting

Shoppers recall chaos in Boise Towne Square during Monday shooting

BPD Chief: Boise mall shooting suspect was known to police

Boise mall shooting suspect dead, 3 others suffer non-life-threatening injuries

Boise mall shooting victims, suspect identified

VERIFY: Was Boise’s deadly mall shooting considered a mass shooting? (yes)

How Treasure Valley law enforcement trains for mass casualty events

Macy’s shopper shares emotional story of witnessing Boise Towne Square shooting

Boise Towne Square reopens Wednesday

ISP report: Boise mall shooter tried to interview Gov. Little in April, while armed

Police report #B21001213

What we know about the two victims killed in Boise mall shooting

Boise Towne Square employees return to work after Monday’s mall shooting

Security guard killed in Boise mall shooting remembered by family: ‘You’re not supposed to bury your child’

Boise mourns those killed in Monday’s mall shooting

Boise police release new details about Monday’s mall shooting

How crisis counselors are helping people impacted by Boise mall shooting

Records detail police interactions with Boise mall shooting suspect

Prosecutors: Woman stole rings, shoelaces, gun belt from slain security guard after Boise mall shooting

More Treasure Valley law enforcement agencies had contact with mall shooter

A candid conversation with Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee

Experts say Boise mall shooter was unlikely legally allowed to have a gun

GLAAD honors Boise mall shooting victim Jo Acker on Trans Day of Remembrance

7’s HERO: 87-year-old Boise man thanks workers who helped him escape Boise mall shooting

A look back at shootings in the Treasure Valley involving police officers 2021

Idaho Statesman

Paramedics wheel woman out of Macy’s store following Boise mall shooting

Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee briefs media on mall shooting

Boise police report 2 dead, 4 injured after mall shooting

2 people killed, 4 injured in shooting at Boise mall; suspect also wounded, in hospital

Might Monday’s mall attack mark Idaho’s first mass shooting? What history tells us

WATCH: Boise Police press conference on Towne Square shooting

Boise mall shooting suspect in critical condition after exchanging gunfire with police

UPDATE: 2 dead, 4 injured in Boise mall shooting; suspect wounded, in custody

WATCH: Boise Police press conference on Towne Square shooting

‘Seemed like it went on forever’: Boise mall shoppers, workers deal with shooting trauma

Police name Boise mall shooter, say he died in hospital. Coroner identifies victims

‘Always will be a hero’: Security guard killed in Boise mall shooting identified by family

After victim dies in mall shooting, family wants to bring him home to Mexico for funeral

Boise police update investigation into Monday’s mall shooting (uncut)

Employees went ‘above and beyond’ during Boise mall shooting

After shooting, Boise Towne Square reopens as mayor honors employees who saved lives

Idaho police flagged Boise mall shooter for owning firearms despite Illinois felony

GoFundMe created for 3-year-old daughter of security guard who died in mall shooting

‘Eternally grateful’: How Boise mall employees helped keep others safe during shooting

Mall, security management remember Boise shooting victim Jo Acker

‘Check in on each other’: Hundreds attend vigil at Boise mall to honor shooting victims

Boise police identify officer who fired at mall shooter, provide new details of incident

‘When do we get to use the guns?’ The police should be able to take that guy’s guns.

When a crime happens, how much does it cost and who pays? Here are local resources

Idaho woman charged with stealing items from dead victim in Boise mall shooting

Boise police reported on encounters with mall shooter, found ‘very racist’ videos online

Multiple people reported Boise mall shooter to police over guns, odd behavior

Idaho’s lax guns laws send a message to guys like the Boise shooter: Welcome to Idaho

KBOI

Two people killed, several injured, including officer, after shooting at Boise mall

Meridian PD: Social post being spread online about mall shooting is fake

City of Rupert issues statement on resident’s death in Boise mall shooting

Shopper says Apple staff hurried him, others to storage room during Boise mall shooting

Ada County Coroner identifies victims, suspect in Boise mall shooting

Boise Police continue to search for answers after deadly shooting

Boise woman talks about shooting: “one of the most terrifying experiences of my life”

Fundraiser for Boise shooting victim raises $20,000 overnight

Boise mayor announces vigil for victims of mall shooting, thanks community heroes

Documents: Boise mall shooter wanted to interview Gov. Brad Little

Memorial account created for security officer killed in Boise mall shooting

Boise mayor on shooting: ‘We honor those we have lost’

Shoppers return to Boise Towne Square Mall after shooting

Clergy members pray for Boise mall victims, first responders

After tough week, Boise comes together with vigil at Boise Towne Square Mall

Boise mall employees get back into flow after deadly shooting

Boise PD on mall shooting: Bullet struck officer’s hat during shootout

Faces of Hope offer free counseling for those affected by mall shooting

Boise officer believed Bergquist wanted to ‘elicit contact’ after jaywalking in downtown

Boise PD chief message to the community after mall shooting: ‘Healing will take time’

Boise shooter reported to police 3 times before mall attack

More than $100,000 raised for families of Boise Towne Square Mall shooting victims

Idaho Press

Incidents like Monday’s mall shooting have seldom if ever occurred in Idaho

A commotion like fireworks: Mall goers share stories on shooting

2 dead, at least 5 injured in Boise mall shooting

Victim in Boise mall shooting remembered as ‘radiantly sweet person’; second victim identified

Mall shooter, who died Tuesday, had multiple weapons, ammunition

Fundraiser for mall shooting victim surpasses $30,000

Mall shooter was a felon who could possess a gun per Idaho law

48 hours after a tragic shooting, Boise Towne Square reopens

Idaho gun laws are loose, but don’t expect that to change

Vigil honors victims of Boise mall shooting

Suspect wandered mall with gun for 40 minutes prior to shooting

Boise Police records show more of suspect’s interactions with law enforcement

Police: Idaho woman stole items from victim in mall shooting

Was the mall shooter legally allowed to have a gun? Likely not, experts say

87-year-old Boise man thanks workers who helped him escape Boise mall shooting

Fundraisers for Boise Towne Square mall victims raise over $100K

Year in review: Mall shooting shocks community

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