Jo AckerAge 26
25 Oct 2021
Boise, Idaho (USA)
Jo was in the early stages of her transition. She died after confronting a gunman who attacked the shopping mall where she worked as a security guard.
Her actions undoubtedly saved many lives and she is being remembered as a hero. Robert Padilla Arguelles, a father who was shopping for gifts for his family, was also killed in the attack.
A transgender woman working as a security guard was killed when a gunman opened fire at the Boise Towne Square Mall in Idaho Monday, and her family members say she took actions that undoubtedly saved many lives there.
Jo Acker, 26, confronted the shooter on the first floor of the mall near a department store, according to a police report. The gunman, now identified as Jacob Bergquist, 27, shot Acker, and she died at the scene. Another person at the mall, Roberto Padilla Arguelles, 49, was killed, and at least four people were injured. Bergquist was taken into custody Monday and died the next day; police said there had been an “exchange of gunfire” with him.
Acker’s partner and siblings say she died a hero; she ran toward Bergquist, hoping to stop him. “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.”
In the Statesman interview, Dawn noted that Acker “hated bullies more than anything else” and added, “She would see anybody in trouble, no matter how uncomfortable or awkward it would be, she would stop whatever she was doing to make sure that the other person is safe.”
Jo was a parent to a 3-year old daughter, loved video games and was known for her willingness to help others.
Dawn said Acker was “one of the strangest, quirkiest individuals I’ve ever known” and was a “proud nerd” who loved video games such as World of Warcraft. Kevin Goncalves, who served in the Army with Acker in Italy and Latvia, also mentioned her enthusiasm for video games as well as her willingness to help others, such as new recruits. He wasn’t surprised she was a hero, he told the Statesman.
She “always stuck up for people [when] others were being disrespected,” Goncalves said. “Always stood up for the right thing, even if it brought trouble. That was always something I admired about Jo.”
Acker had a 3-year-old daughter, Everay. The family has set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Everay’s support. (Editor's note: The GoFundMe misgenders Acker.)
Jo's Facebook profile is https://www.facebook.com/joseph.acker.102.