The two people killed in Monday’s shooting at a Boise shopping mall are being remembered as a heroic security guard with a heart of gold, and a beloved dad and husband picking up gifts for his family back in Mexico.
Boise Towne Square Mall reopened at noon on Wednesday, as Mayor Lauren McLean and Police Chief Ryan Lee gave remarks and said there would be a vigil on Thursday evening for the victims, police and first responders, reported KIVI-TV.
The first person whom 27-year-old shooter Jacob Bergquist encountered was security guard Jo Acker, 26, police said. Acker, a trans woman and U.S. Army veteran, confronted the black-clad, gun-toting suspect as he entered the mall, the largest retail complex in the state, just before 2 p.m. Monday.
Acker, who was shot dead, was hailed as a hero who most likely bought time for others to escape.
“She was confronting the suspect. She was helping people be safe and get out of the way and they shot at her,” Ray Dawn, Acker’s partner of nearly three years, told the Idaho Statesman. “I was told she was helping people and saving them…. I know she would have wanted to make everyone else safe. She would have been the first one to go down to confront somebody.”
Acker’s friend, Dominique Cairistiona, had “very conflicting emotions,” she told the Idaho Press.
“On one hand I’m upset that she was selfless and put herself in danger — but on the other hand I would expect nothing less of her,” Cairistiona said. “That’s exactly her character, to do whatever she could to help as many people as she could.”
Acker’s devastated family expressed similar sentiments.
“Jo you were always kind and loving,” Acker’s sister, Shawna Lannigan, remembered her sibling on Facebook. “You always had such an enormous heart of gold. I always felt like your keeper. I always wanted to protect you, and you always wanted to protect others. You were and are and always will be a hero.”
Roberto Padilla Arguelles, 49, was also killed, police said in a media release, when Bergquist “fired multiple rounds inside the building, striking the glass escalator and a second victim who succumbed to his injures at the hospital.”
The father of three and granddad of one was remembered as a “very kind, responsible and honest person” by his daughter, Yanet Padilla.
“I’m devastated,” the 26-year-old told the Idaho Statesman. “I felt that I died when my husband told me what happened. I feel sad, and I feel that my life (went) away with him. It’s so difficult when I see my mom crying for (her) husband.”
The city of Rupert, Idaho, where he lived with his brother and brother-in-law, expressed shock and grief as well.
“Today the City of Rupert received word that a member of our community, Robert Padilla Arguelles, was killed during the Boise Mall shootings on Monday, October 25, 2021,” the city wrote in a statement. “The City of Rupert would like to offe
r our heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Arguelles in their time of grief. ”
Padilla Arguelles’s siblings are working to get his body back to Mexico.
“All of the costs will be to return our brother to his family in Mexico with a proper burial and funeral service,” his brother Ricardo Macias wrote in an online fund-raising plea. “We greatly appreciate any type of help and hopes to be able to put our brother at rest.”
The fund raised $20,000 overnight, shooting past its goal after just 13 hours, reported KIFI-TV. By Wednesday afternoon, it was about to hit $30,000.