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5 dead, 2 critically hurt in Minneapolis shooting rampage

September 28, 2012|By Michael Muskal

Minneapolis police on Friday continued their search for clues as to why a gunman broke into a sign company's offices and opened fire, killing the owner and three others before turning the gun on himself.

Five people, including the shooter, were dead after the Thursday rampage and four were wounded, officials said. As of Friday morning, one person had been treated and released from the Hennepin County Medical Center; two people remained in critical condition and one in serious condition, according to officials.

Police searched the suspected shooter's home in south Minneapolis but found nothing to explain the shootings, Sgt. Stephen McCarty, a police spokesman, said by telephone.

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McCarty said he could not name the suspect, a task left to the medical examiner’s office. But a spokeswoman said that office wasn't prepared to name the shooter either.

The bodies were removed from the shooting site, Accent Signage Systems, early Friday morning, police said. The entire building at 2322 Chestnut Ave. W., remained closed as police worked the crime scene.

Even though officials were not releasing the name of the shooter, there was speculation in media reports that the gunman was a disgruntled former worker. Citing its sources, the Minneapolis Star Tribune identified the suspect as Andrew J. Engeldinger, 36, of Minneapolis. Engeldinger had just lost his job at Accent.

PHOTOS: Minneapolis workplace shooting

Accent is a small company that specializes in making interior signs that comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act, including signs in Braille for the blind. It was started in the early 1980s in the Minneapolis home of its founder, Reuven Rahamim, 61. Rahamim was born and raised in Israel.

Rahamim was shot to death in “a senseless act of violence,” son-in-law Chad Blumenfield said in a statement. “Other members of the Accent family tragically lost their lives as well, and we mourn their loss.”

Also among the dead was Keith Basinski, 50, of Spring Lake Park, a driver for United Parcel Service. A UPS truck was still at the scene Friday morning.

“We are profoundly shocked and saddened over this tragic event involving our driver, Keith Basinski,” UPS' Northern Plains District president, Jill Schubert, said in a statement released Friday morning. “Our deepest sympathies go out to his family and the families of the other victims. We also pray for the full recovery of others injured in the shooting. Keith had been a part of our UPS family for 29 years, and we are going to miss him very much.”

Among the wounded was John Souter, Accent's director of operations, and company production manager Eric Rivers. Other victims have yet to be officially named.

According to police, officers responded at 4:35 p.m. Thursday to a call of shots fired at Accent.

“When officers arrived and entered the business to assist with the evacuation of employees, give aid to the victims and to search for the suspect, they found four victims dead from apparent gunshot wounds,” McCarty said in a statement.

Police never fired their weapons.  “Among the dead, was an individual identified as the suspect; it appeared that he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” McCarty said.

Mayor R.T. Rybak told reporters that he and Rep. Keith Ellison had recently visited Accent because it was a national model for exporting practices. Rybak said he'd been assured that the surviving employees were “together and being cared for.”

“We are deeply sorry about what has happened here,” he said, adding that it was “a horrible tragedy.”

Gov. Mark Dayton condemned “this senseless violence,” adding: “There is no place for it anywhere in Minnesota. I extend my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the innocent people killed or wounded.”

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