Guard Critical Of Mall Shooting Response

The following letter is from Mike Murphy, a former security guard who was on duty during the Towne Square Mall shooting incident. Murphy along with two other security staff have since resigned because “It is not safe to work there and we didn’t have proper safety equipment including body armor.” Murphy has sent this letter to the Boise mayor, city council, and most of the local media–including the GUARDIAN.

It is critical of the police handling of the incident and and the mall security. Chief Ryan Lee has read the letter. Lee has had staff contact Murphy in an effort to discuss the letter and potentially add to the plethora of information and evaluations gathered following the shooting deaths.


To Whom It May Concern,
As one of three security officers on duty at the time, and assigned to patrol the exterior and parking areas of the mall at the time of the shooting, I offer the following perspective based on first hand knowledge and observation.
Before I continue, it should be noted that nothing I have to say here should be misconstrued as minimizing the bravery exhibited by individual officers, or a condemnation of the profession . . .

The response to the MCI (mass casualty incident) was an absolute clusterf… and failure of leadership, training, and operating procedure, and it is by the Grace of God alone that an infinitely more horrible outcome did not come to pass.

Police leadership failed to recognize / act upon the real possibility of an accomplice and / or placement of explosive devices outside of the entrance / exit to Macy’s where the shooter egressed (a not uncommon tactic of terrorists) and allowed all responding vehicles — which represented a substantial portion of Boise’s overall Police, Fire, and EMS vehicles and personnel — to be bunched up in front of the Macy’s entrance where they would have been decimated had a device been detonated and / or an accomplice had opened fire.

No perimeter was ever established / secured in the area surrounding those vehicles, despite an abundance of law enforcement who can be seen in news footage chatting and milling about.

SWAT sniper(s) (easily identified by their weaponry, balaclava, and subdued BPD patches) — instead of milling about the main entrance to the mall laughing and chatting with other equally idle law enforcement — should have been posted on the roof to observe and report / act upon any suspicious / threatening activity in the area of Macy’s.
In parting . . .

On the day of the MCI there should have been eight security officers on duty, but there were only three, because mall management (Brookfield Properties) and their security company (Professional Security Consultants) fail to pay, train, equip, and support their officers properly.

I escorted the shooter off of the property to the corner of Emerald and Milwaukee a week earlier when he was armed with four handguns (including at least one with a silencer) and enough ammo to start a war, yet for whatever reason, Brookfield Properties and / or Professional Security Consultants disapproves of and does not utilize the tools developed by the Department of Homeland Security’s Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative (NSI) that may have helped avert this preventable tragedy.

In My Opinion . . . Boise Towne Square does not take the safety and security of their tenants and the public seriously and I have advised my friends and family to avoid it at all costs as I and other security officers have since resigned, and all of the extra security visible in the days immediately following the shooting was entirely theater and is already long gone, having returned to Iowa, Utah, Nebraska, and California, where they were brought in from.

Rest in Peace, Jo Acker — Hero.

Michael Murphy

EDITOR NOTE–The GUARDIAN welcomes a response from both the Boise PD and the Mall management. The police post action review is ongoing, but the GUARDIAN has unofficially been informed that only one Boise officer discharged his weapon, the shooter died of a self-inflicted gunshot, the SWAT team was never activated in the brief period the incident unfolded, some officers not assigned to the call “self deployed” which added to the chaos.

Based on what we have learned the guardian does not anticipate any charges being filed and if there is any redeeming value in the two tragic deaths, it will be increased training, organized response and procedures the next time violence erupts in a public place.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. – – UPDATE – – I received a call today from a “Theresa”, Assistant to the Chief of the Boise Police Department, a /month/ after publishing my “Open Letter . . .” Stating that the Chief was “very busy” (Too busy to prevent a future preventable slaughter apparently), and would “prefer I meet with the Training Officer.” A call I only received because of my unrelenting pressure over the last month.

    I countered that I was not going to be part of some political theater / plausible deniability campaign, would meet only with the Chief, with the Training Officer, a reporter, and member of the Boise City Council (Whom I’ve already been in contact with) present. The assistant then became very interested in whom that member might be, and I had to remind her to remind the Chief that he answers to civil authority – and not the other way around – and that council member’s identity was irrelevant.

    I then told her – and pledge before Almighty God – that if the Chief finds my conditions “inconvenient”, it will pale in comparison to the inconvenience I am prepared to LAWFULLY cause the Chief and Boise Police /Department/ until the day I die.

    Unfortunately, the local media are gutless (i.e KTVB, CBS 2 Boise, Idaho News 6, and the “jury is still out” on the Idaho Statesman) for fear of “losing access”, whereas Mayor McLean and all but one member of the Boise City Council have completely abdicated their responsibility to make sure the good people of City of Boise and its visitors are protected and served by a professional, transparent, accountable, and peer accredited (C.A.L.E.A.) law enforcement.

    Please, consider calling Mayor McLean and the Boise City Council at (208) 972-8520 and ask the WTF.

    Jo Acker deserves better! Boise deserves better! YOU deserve better!

  2. Michael Murphy
    Dec 20, 2021, 1:58 pm

    — UPDATE 2 — Just received — unsurprisingly:

    “Hi Michael,

    I have been brought up to speed on your requests and concerns with the police response on October 25, 2021. At this time I would encourage you to reach out to the Office of Police Accountability for further assistance. Their phone number is 208-972-8380. You can also contact them through their website.

    Thank you,

    Haley Williams
    Police Communications Mgr
    Boise Police Department

    Office: (208)570-6182

    [email protected]

    And so, the Plausible Deniability / Spin Control / Buck Passing begins . . .

  3. Boise Lawyer
    Dec 21, 2021, 8:01 am

    The productive place for Mr. Murphy’s concerns is the Office of Police Accountability. It’s their job to evaluate citizen complaints about outside performance.

    Instead, the gentleman appears to be on a one-man PR campaign to draw attention in the media. Flavor that with the rant in the first comments, plus the vague tone of faux whistleblower grandeur, and that should tell you all you need to know.

    I am sure there are many important lessons to be learned from this year’s tragedy at the mall. I’m also pretty sure Mr. Murphy’s thoughts are not a productive starting place.

  4. I haven’t been to the mall since Sears & Roebuck closed. (Used to go in the back door to the Tool Department.) However, based on my vague memories, it doesn’t seem to me that our mall needs eight rent-a-cops with body armor.

    Mr. Murphy is probably right about the bloodbath that might’ve ensued, if we had an “MCI” involving terrorists or some other malevolent actors (plural). Fortunately for most people involved (victims excepted), it was foisted by one disturbed/delusional individual. It seems reasonable for a mall to be prepared for that scenario. Eight well-trained, armored paramilitary commandos and rooftop snipers might be “overkill,” and would probably have a negative effect on everyday mall commerce. (How about a sandbag-reinforced machine gun nest at the main entrance?)

  5. Duh. First responders response to just about everything is fubar. With 20+ years of reality- and the note is “maybe increased training, organized response and procedures”. A joke!

    The only new stuff here is 1)I escorted the shooter off of the property to the corner of Emerald and Milwaukee a week earlier and 2) the GUARDIAN has unofficially been informed that,,,

    A guilty conscience and more bad blogging?

  6. Responding to MM
    Dec 21, 2021, 12:46 pm

    The recent guest opinion by Michael Murphy begs for a response. First, though, a quick point regarding the editor’s comments about the chaos surrounding the BTS Mall shooting: When something like this happens, some amount of chaos is inevitable. Officers will “self deploy”, not just from the jurisdiction where the incident is occurring, but from literally every law enforcement agency in the immediate area – local, state and federal – uniformed and plain-clothes alike. That’s just the nature of such incidents and it’s the same no matter where you go. There is no way to stop that from happening and the fact that it happens to begin with is a testament to the selflessness of law enforcement and their willingness to put themselves in danger to protect others. THankfully, with good training, tactics and discipline, the resulting chaos has a way of working itself out fairly quickly.

    As for Mr. Murphy, I don’t disagree regarding his points about the Mall itself and the Mall’s security contractor not being adequately staffed, trained, etc., to deal with an active shooter event.

    As for the police response, Mr. Murphy couldn’t be more un-informed. Every police agency in this valley has trained for active shooter events for many, many years. The fact that the shooter in this incident was identified, isolated and neutralized so quickly – despite the ongoing and inevitable chaos surrounding the event – is testament to that. By all accounts, the responding officers responded completely as the best training on the subject would dictate.
    As reported previously, one officer was inches away from a potentially-fatal gunshot wound in the immediate pursuit of the shooter.

    Obviously, Mr. Murphy was not privy to the information Dispatch was giving to officers, nor to what would have undoubtedly been a ton of intelligence, tactics, movements, etc., being shared and conducted by the many officers on-scene. In such an event, multiple radio channels would be in-use, none of which Mr. Murphy would have had access to. His limited view and knowledge of the response to the incident was but a tiny fraction of what was actually taking place. As in any large event such as this, what is visible and observable by the public pales in comparison to what was going on behind the scenes.

    That all said, there’s always room for improvement by all of the first-responders. I guarantee that this incident is being discussed, de-briefed and after-actioned to no end. The result will be an even better response should – God forbid – a similar incident ever occur in this area again.

  7. western guy
    Dec 21, 2021, 7:17 pm

    self-deploying only adds to chaos. Dispatchers, working with on-duty supervisors, must decide which LE units get deployed, and in which sequence.

    And yes, the ‘post-incident standing around process’ is a timeless thing for LE and fire agencies. Helps with overtime pay.

  8. David Cline
    Dec 21, 2021, 7:30 pm

    “I escorted the shooter off of the property… that may have helped avert this preventable tragedy”. How did he know how much ammo and how many guns the perp had on him? Did MM do a pat down and if he did he is a fool. Did he alert BPD. File an incident report with his company or L.E. I am seriously concerned about Mr. Murphy. I fully understand why he is NOT a Law Enforcement Officer and seriously doubt he should ever again be a “security guard”. He is suffering from some delusion that he knows anything about what BPD/ISP etc were doing and why they were doing it. I would suggest that Mr. Murphy get some serious therapy to deal with his PTSD from this incident. Guilt is a hard thing to deal with. OBSERVE AND REPORT is their job…

  9. Third or more in a row
    Dec 21, 2021, 11:19 pm

    This would be our third mayor in a row who was afraid of the BPD and unwilling to fix it.

    Hey, I got a jerk neighbor who likely is defrauding a Covid small business loan. Anyone know who to tip off about it?

  10. Rent-a-Cops R Us.

    going to the mall for some shopping now

  11. Third or more in a row
    Dec 23, 2021, 12:29 pm

    It is a common theme for the police to attack the mental stability and credibility of a person with credible potentially damaging complaints. It’s part of their playbook and one of the many reasons the general public is fed up. (locally, see east Idaho Sheriff on the ropes today or the dope who shot the rancher or the dope who rear-ended the jeep and investigations thereof)

    We need policing, no doubt about it. However we need the police to be accountable and fully under the thumb of elected leaders, and they are not yet.

    One of the biggest threats to America is police and prosecutor misconduct. This poster of his concerns may be less than perfect. His complaints need to be impartially evaluated none the less. And that won’t happen in Boise, will it Ms. Mayor?

    The call jumping and overtime scam comment is exactly correct. Doing the right thing when nobody is looking? Really?

  12. Dearest, Darling “Boise Lawyer: The OPA is a toothless tiger with zero subpoena power that exists only to insulate the Mayor and City Council. As far as the rest of your ridiculousness . . . It’s nice to know that you know how to use a thesaurus. “… I’m also pretty sure …” = I don’t know of what I speak.

    The Good, Mr. “David Cline”: Nice obfuscation . . .
    “I escorted the shooter off of the property… that may have helped avert this preventable tragedy”. There was no need to do a pat down as his 4 weapons and multiple magazines were fully visible. Additionally, had you actually read my “Open Letter . . .” you would have seen how the mall (like far too many businesses / entities in Idaho) does not participate in DHS’s SAR Initiative. Moreover, all was reported to the mall / security supervisors who made the conscious decision not to report (as I learned later) to law enforcement. As far as your Paul Blartesque assessments, your first mistake is assuming that the totality of my existence is that of a Security Officer. Working security is — and always has been — a part-time sporadic endeavor over the last 30 years to earn extra cash (in this case, for Christmas), beginning when I was in college in La-La Land and the Rodney King Riots. No desire to be a cop, however I have letters of commendation from the LAPD (saved 5 impaired individuals from a burning car moments before it “blew”) and the BPD for serendipitously capturing an escaped felon who had eluded a multi-agency pursuit for 45+ minutes.

    “Paul”: Bless Your Heart. You go shop your butt off.

    “Third or more in a row”: Eureka!; there /is/ intelligent life on this planet.

    – – –

    It is long past time to bring professionalism, transparency, and accountability to the Boise Police Department via LEGITIMATE peer-accreditation . . . [ ]

    – – –

    Regardless of anyone’s opine on this matter, I wish a Happy, Glorious Solstice, Noël and Yule, and a Happy, Merry Christmahanukwanzakavus to all . . .

  13. Michael, Thank you for your article. We have heard very much of the same from past and present employees. You are correct about the police department as well and how everything was handled. We know first hand as well. Those that are replying to you are most likely trying to protect those envolved. May I please get your personal email address to contact you privately. Thank you.

  14. I believe that most of us WOULD NOT want to be a law enforcement officer!
    I wonder how many law enforcement officers DON’T WANT to be one either?

  15. Frank, maybe ask What type of person does want to be a cop to begin with? What are those personality traits?
    As opposed to a firefighter, or a nurse for example.

    Let’s see- no college required. great pay scale. one of the best health insurance programs. Days off schedule. PERSI. union benefits. early retirement. easy to decide what to wear to work. some cake assignments. drive around town at taxpayer cost. donuts! a whole lotta standing around while getting paid to be at events. etc.
    vs dealing with the public.

    EDITOR NOTE–WRONG about education. You also better hope they don’t have your license number.

  16. western guy
    Jan 2, 2022, 10:24 am

    Editor: check the BPD website carefully regarding ‘educational requirements’ to become a police officer. Go research ‘regional accreditation’ vs ‘national accreditation’.

    The former includes cosmetology schools and various proprietary (profit-making) institutions of dubious character.

    The latter includes more traditional colleges and universities with real academic degrees.

  17. “BPD Minimum Qualifications:
    OR have an Idaho P.O.S.T. Intermediate Certificate or an out-of-state Intermediate (Lateral candidates only).”

    The POST Certification is an alternative to college education.
    15 credits is NOT an education.
    A cop can get Intermediate after the Basic plus hours on the job or additional POST training.
    A degree is not required. An Associates in Basket-weaving helps the pay-scale but it is not required. No where in Idaho is a full college degree required to be a cop. Idaho IDAPA Rules govern the topic. The proof is in written. Apparently good grooming standards is not required either. Beards, wrinkles, and lack of uniformity is fine for BPD.

    Fact- no college (degree) required.

    Who is WRONG Editor? And not posting my other follow-up comments? The ‘guardian’ is more concerned with the Mayor taking an economic development trip instead of the costs and output of police/fire. Maybe Michael Murphy could do some Critical Cop Theory writing and show why the BPD has the shortcomings he claims and needs increased training according to The Guardian.

    Again what type of person wants to be a cop?

    EDITOR NOTE–We are splitting hairs here. You said “no college.” They require 60 credits which is more than “no college.” We can spend all day debating what constitutes “accredited institution.” We are not siding up with BPD or You. You are certainly welcome to voice an opinion that it is a sub standard department. If you wish to post an opinion piece under your real name we will gladly oblige.

    As to grooming, I am told the beard issue is one of taste. Same goes for tattoos. Times are achanging. Having used marijuana is no longer a disqualifier–lying about
    the use is. Remember the President who “didn’t inhale?”

  18. western guy
    Jan 3, 2022, 6:13 pm

    update on Mall security (or lack thereof):

    yesterday I observed a person, gender unknown, individual wandering around the Mall, spacey-eyed, etc. This went on for 2 hours.

    I called the official Mall phone number, pushed ‘1’ for security, and got a recording that said ‘that extension was not available’. And not a security officer to be seen anywhere inside. They run arouind the parking lot in their goofy white Jeep with yellow lights.

    This scenario is ripe for another problem.

  19. WG, for 2hours you watched? My understanding is that is exactly what all people do at the mall- wander around with spacey eyes. If the spacey person was suspicious enough to call mall security, why didn’t you call 911?

    Geez, if I did a piece under my complete name like Michael Murphy did here, then “they” will have “MY license number”.
    Like YOU said, Edtitor I hope they don’t get that. What up with that?

  20. western guy
    Jan 4, 2022, 3:52 pm

    Mall Security (such as it is…) should be the first responder to problems in the Mall or Mall parking lot.

    BPD response might be a tad too much, what with all the ‘self-deployed’ vehicles arriving at once.

  21. A Real Idahoan
    Jan 6, 2022, 4:13 pm

    Much ado with overblown insertions of dramatic acronyms and all the attendant hoopla.

    The whole affair was, plain and simple, just another case of murder/suicide perpetrated by one deranged eastern felon in possession of a firearm against another easterner who was in possession of a cop suit.

    The infamous examples of outlanders coming here to murder one another are too numerous to mention in one response.

  22. western guy
    Jan 7, 2022, 6:09 pm

    How many levels of idiocy does this most recent post reveal?

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