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Family of mall security guard files claim against state and local agencies after mall shooting

The family of a second victim of October’s shooting at Boise Towne Square Mall filed a claim for $500,000 in damages with multiple state and local agencies last month. 

On April 23rd, slain mall security guard Jo Acker’s father Robert Acker, mother Crystal Clause, and three-year-old daughter Everay Acker filed a claim against the Idaho State Police, the Ada County Sheriff’s Office, the Boise Police Department, the Meridian Police Department, Ada County Prosecutor Jan Bennetts, and several other state and local entities over the death of Roberto Arguelles in the October 25 shooting.

This follows the nearly identical claim filed by the family members of Roberto Arguelles earlier in April. 

[BPD officer files claim against city after he said Chief Ryan Lee injured him]

The claim alleges that the conduct of the agencies named resulted in Acker’s death. The family members hope to recover the cost of the funeral for Acker, counseling for the family, and the loss of any financial support she provided for her family. 

Acker was on shift at her job as a security guard patrolling the mall when shooter Jacob Bergquist confronted her with multiple weapons, including a handgun. The claim said Bergquist had a conversation with Acker before she turned away, and Bergquist shot and killed her. Berquist then started firing around the mall, also killing Arguelles and injuring four others. Bergquist was shot on the scene by Boise Police Officers. 

This claim follows an investigation by Occupational Safety and Health Administration into Professional Security Consultants LLC, the security company responsible for patrolling Boise Towne Square Mall and Acker’s employer. The investigation found the company “repeatedly exposed its employees” to workplace hazards by not addressing potential risks of gun violence, a news release from the U.S. Department of Labor said last week. 

Questions about Bergquist’s behavior, possession of weapons

This claim brings up the same concerns about Bergquist, the legality of him carrying a gun in Idaho even with a felony, and his record with law enforcement as the claim filed by Arguelles’ family. 

It pointed to several reports from the Idaho Statesman detailing Bergquist’s history of run-ins with law enforcement for carrying weapons and the “heightened risk that he presented to the community.” This includes him being banned from a Walmart in Meridian for violating store policy by open carrying inside, his request to interview Governor Brad Little for his now-deleted Youtube channel Guns N Rodents about the ability of felons to carry guns in Idaho and reports filed by officers who were concerned about racist content and his behavior. 

Two different officers, one with Idaho State Police and the Boise Police Department, requested Ada County Prosecutor Jan Bennetts to investigate if Bergquist could carry a gun legally, but it was determined in both cases he could. Idaho code only prevents some felons from carrying guns and because Bergquist’s felony is a theft charge, he is not prohibited from having a gun in the Gem State. 

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Margaret Carmel - BoiseDev Sr. Reporter
Margaret Carmel - BoiseDev Sr. Reporter
Margaret Carmel is a BoiseDev reporter focused on the City of Boise, housing, homelessness and growth. Contact her at [email protected] or by phone at (757)705-8066.

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