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Family members identify one victim from Boise mall shooting

First responders take care of people who were inside the Boise Towne Square shopping mall when a man opened fire at the mall Monday, Oct. 25, 2021, in Boise, Idaho. (Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman via AP)

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Family members have identified one of the victims who was shot and killed at Boise mall on Monday as Jo Acker, a security guard who they said died trying to stop the shooter.

She was one of two people who died in the shooting which also left five others, including the suspect and a police officer injured. Police have not yet released the names of the other victims or the suspect.

“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 shooting was reported to police about 1:50 p.m., and a short time later responding officers found a person who matched the suspect's description at the Boise Towne Square Mall. At least one officer exchanged gunfire with the suspect, Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee said, resulting in the officer being injured and the suspect being taken into custody.

The suspect was in critical condition at a Boise hospital, the police department said Monday evening. The injured officer was treated and released.

Cheri Gypin thought something had fallen from the ceiling when she heard several large bangs at the largest shopping mall in Boise, Idaho.

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.”

Police said what they described as the “events” happened inside and outside the mall, but didn’t elaborate. Part of a busy street about a quarter of a mile away was also temporarily closed as a second crime scene connected to the shooting investigation.

“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.”


AP writer Keith Ridler contributed from Boise.