Police: Suspect in Boise, Idaho, mall shooting dies
Eric Balderas, an employee at a department store at the Boise Towne Square shopping mall, rests on a police vehicle after falling while evacuating the mall during a shooting Monday, Oct. 25, 2021, in Boise, Idaho. (Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman via AP)
By REBECCA BOONE
BOISE — The suspect in a Boise mall shooting that killed two people and injured four others has died, the Boise Police Department said Tuesday.
The police department did not release the name of the suspect nor the names of the slain and injured victims. One of the people killed was identified by family members as Jo Acker, a security guard who worked at the mall. Family members said she died while trying to stop the shooter.
“Jo you were always kind of loving .... you always had such an enormous heart of gold,” Acker’s sister Shawna Lee Lannigan wrote on Facebook. “You were and are and always will be a hero. I love you to the ends of this earth and beyond.”
The Boise Police Department first got the call that shots had been fired at the Boise Towne Square Mall at about 1:50 p.m., with callers describing a white man dressed in black, in possession of multiple guns.
In a prepared statement released Tuesday afternoon, the police department said evidence shows the shooter was first contacted by a security guard who was shot and killed at the scene. Police said the shooter then fired several rounds, shooting a glass escalator and a second victim who died of his injuries at a hospital.
The shooter then walked through the mall, firing rounds into the floor, which led to a 52-year-old woman and a 23-year-old woman being injured. Another man was injured when he fell while trying to escape the mall.
About three minutes after the initial report, responding officers saw the suspect running from mall area. They exchanged gunfire with the suspect outside a nearby business along a busy road, with the suspect shooting toward the road, according to the police department.
A 68-year-old woman who was in her car on the road was injured in the gunfight, according to police. An officer was also injured in the shootout, and was treated and released from the hospital.
Police found 18 spent shell casings inside the mall, and the investigation shows that the shooter had several guns and ammunition at the mall, the department said.
“We really cannot at this time speak to any motivation behind it,” Lee said during a press conference Monday afternoon. “I cannot stress enough how traumatic this event is for the community at large, as well as for those that were witnesses, or are the families of those involved or involved themselves.”
Investigators were working to notify the family members of those injured and killed in the shooting, Lee said at the time.
Boise Mayor Lauren McLean asked people and the news media to give the victims and their families privacy as they deal with the trauma of the shooting.
“Countless people found themselves in a situation they never would have or should have expected,” McLean said, praising shopkeepers and others for reacting “so quickly to take care of folks that were there. You showed in a tough and chaotic moment how much you care and what you’re willing to do to support and care for strangers.”
Cheri Gypin was among those who were at the mall during the shooting. She thought something had fallen from the ceiling when she heard several large bangs.
Then Gypin and a friend saw about 60 people, including families pushing strollers, come running at them — with some shouting there was an active shooter at the mall on Monday afternoon.
“My friend was trying to process it,” Gypin said. “I just looked at her and said, ‘We’ve got to run.’ So we just ran and kept running until we got to the outer perimeter of the parking lot.”