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

From the October crime report: Murder cases, mall shooting, drug busts and more series
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Boise Mall Shooting

Police and emergency crews respond to a shooting at Boise Towne Square mall on Monday. Two people were killed and four injured.

BOISE — The man identified by police as the perpetrator of Monday’s fatal shooting at the Boise Towne Square mall was a felon and had been flagged by Idaho State Police in April on suspicion of illegally possessing firearms, according to public records.

Jacob Bergquist, 27, had a run-in with Idaho State Police at the Statehouse on April 2 that prompted the agency to investigate potential charges against him, a police report shows. The Boise Police Department on Tuesday identified Bergquist as the man who killed two people and injured several others in a Monday afternoon shooting at the mall, firing 18 rounds inside the building and more outside.

Police Chief Ryan Lee said Bergquist was known to other law enforcement. Bergquist died at a local hospital Tuesday after exchanging gunfire with police Monday following the mall shooting.

According to the Idaho State Police report, Trooper James Love saw Bergquist apparently recording a video in the Capitol rotunda at around 2 p.m. April 2. When the trooper directed another Capitol visitor toward Gov. Brad Little’s office, Bergquist followed, Love said.

Love said in the report that he had noticed Bergquist was “armed with a holstered semiautomatic handgun on his left hip.” It is legal to carry firearms at the Idaho State Capitol.

Love said he followed Bergquist and the other visitor to the governor’s office, where Bergquist asked the trooper whether he could speak to the governor. Love directed Bergquist to the receptionist, Tamara Felter.

“I listened while the young man explained to Ms. Felter that he wanted to interview the governor to get his thoughts on persons convicted of felonies being able to carry guns,” Love wrote. “He went on to say that he was a felon and that by Idaho Code 18-310 he was able to carry a firearm and that he was trying to get the word out to others that they, too, could carry in Idaho.”

Idaho police say they exchanged gunfire with a suspect during a shooting at a shopping mall in Boise that killed two people and injured four, including an officer. Witnesses described the panic in the mall as they heard gunshots.

Idaho Code cited

The Idaho code Bergquist cited outlines how the right to possession of a firearm is denied to individuals convicted of certain felonies. Public records show that Bergquist was arrested in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, in 2011 and charged with possession of marijuana and intent to sell, which is a felony. Those charges were pleaded down to a misdemeanor. Had he been convicted of felony possession of a controlled substance, Bergquist would not have been allowed to possess firearms in Idaho.

Bergquist was also arrested in Cook County, Illinois, in 2012 and convicted of theft in excess of $300. That charge is a Class 3 felony in Illinois, but theft does not disqualify Idaho felons from possessing firearms per the code Bergquist cited. The Idaho Statesman has reached out to Cook County authorities for more details on the conviction.

Bergquist told Felter that he was convicted of theft, according to Love’s police report. He also reiterated to Love that Idaho Code 18-310 allowed him to possess firearms in the state.

Love requested that the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office investigate charges against Bergquist for possible violation of Idaho Code 18-310 as well as Code 18-3316, which makes it a felony for a convicted felon to possess firearms.

According to an emailed statement from the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office, it followed up on Love’s request.

“Our office determined he was not a prohibited possessor in Idaho, based on Idaho’s laws including Idaho Code Section 18-3316 and 18-310,” the statement said.

“Idaho Code Section 18-310(2) has a list of qualifying felony convictions which prohibit firearm possession. Mr. Bergquist did not have a felony conviction for a listed offense. He was prosecuted for a qualifying offense in another state, but that case did not result in a qualifying felony conviction. On July 28, 2011, a misdemeanor judgment of conviction was entered in that case. He was prosecuted for a retail theft offense in Illinois which does not qualify under 18-310 as a qualifying felony prior conviction. Our office could not take any action.”

Love said Felter had also learned the name of Bergquist’s YouTube channel, which included two videos that “clearly show him in the Capitol and armed.” The original YouTube channel, titled Guns N Rodents, no longer exists, but the Idaho Statesman was able to examine videos posted to another channel, called Guns N Rodents Reloaded, before it was taken down by the website Tuesday evening. The “about” section of the channel identified the channel owner as Jacob Bergquist and said he was a convicted felon living in Boise.

“This channels main dedication is towards repealing the prohibited possessor list in various states throughout the union,” the channel’s “about” section stated.

The most recent video, posted to the channel on Oct. 21, showed Bergquist firing a Beretta Bobcat at an indoor shooting range.

The Guns N Rodents Reloaded page linked to a third account with no videos posted. The “about” section of that page said the channel was for “firearm content and conservative politics.” Screengrabs of the “about” section on the original Guns N Rodents channel show Bergquist using racial slurs and declaring “minorities are not welcome here!!”

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