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Andrew John ENGELDINGER

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: After being fired from his job
Number of victims: 6
Date of murders: September 27, 2012
Date of birth: 1976
Victims profile: Reuven Rahamim, 61 (the founder of the company); Keith Basinski, 50; Rami Cooks, 62; Ronald Edberg, 58; Jacob Beneke, 34. and Eric Rivers, 42
Method of murder: Shooting (Glock 19 9mm handgun)
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Status: Committed suicide by shooting himself the same day
 
 
 
 
 
 

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2012 Minneapolis workplace shooting

A shooting occurred at a firm in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on the afternoon of Thursday, September 27, 2012. The attack took place inside Accent Signage Systems, where a former employee walked inside the firm's building and fired shots. By the end of the day, five people were dead, including the gunman, who committed suicide, and four others were injured, three of them critically. One of those critically injured died the following day, and another man succumbed to his wounds on October 10. It was the deadliest workplace shooting in Minnesota's history.

Details

The shooting took place at Accent Signage Systems, a sign-making business located in the Bryn Mawr neighborhood of Minneapolis, west of Interstate 394.

Andrew John Engeldinger, a former employee of the firm who had just been told he was losing his job, responded with "oh really" and took out a Glock 19 9mm handgun from his holster and opened fire.

The first 911 phone calls made from the business were at 4:35 p.m., when someone called in saying gunshots were being fired. The first officers that arrived on scene managed to escort some people out of the building during the assail. The shooting killed five people, one of whom died the next day. Three others were treated at Hennepin County Medical Center, two of them for critical injuries. Engeldinger died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a warehouse in the workplace's basement.

Victims

The six victims killed (not counting the perpetrator) are: Reuven Rahamim, 61, the founder of the company; a UPS driver who had initially been on a delivery, Keith Basinski, 50; and three who were identified by the medical examiner's office: Rami Cooks, 62; Ronald Edberg, 58, and Jacob Beneke, 34. A sixth fatal victim, Eric Rivers, 42, died on October 10.

Two other company executives, director of operations John Souter and production manager Eric Rivers, were in critical condition as of September 28. A person who was in stable condition after the shooting was treated at Hennepin County Medical Center and released on September 28. Rivers was taken off life support when he succumbed to his wounds on October 10.

Perpetrator

The perpetrator was identified as Andrew John Engeldinger, a 36-year-old Minneapolis resident. He was formerly employed by Accent Signage Systems, but recently lost his job from the business. Early reports that he began shooting upon returning after being fired were incorrect, authorities said Friday, according to the NBC article. He was in the front office after being fired, and then went to the loading bay, and authorities said there were clear indications he may have targeted certain people.

Response

Governor Mark Dayton described the shooting as "senseless," and said that "there is no place for it anywhere in Minnesota." Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak visited Accent Signage along with U.S. Representative Keith Ellison not long before the shooting. Rybak stated that, "we are deeply sorry about what has happened here," and adding that it was "a horrible tragedy".

 
 

Eric Rivers Dies, Is 6th Victim To Perish From Accent Signage Systems Shooting

HuffingtonPost.com

October 11, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS -- A man shot two weeks ago in Minnesota's deadliest workplace killing spree has died of his injuries, his family announced Thursday.

Eric Rivers died at Hennepin County Medical Center on Wednesday night, his family said in a statement. The production manager became the sixth victim to die from the Sept. 27 shootings at Accent Signage Systems in Minneapolis, not including gunman Andrew Engeldinger, 36, who committed suicide.

"We are grateful for the incredible courage displayed by the men and women who responded to the emergency and the wonderful medical team at Hennepin County Medical Center, who cared for Eric," the family said in a statement. "At this time, the family asks for privacy as we deal with this personal tragedy. We thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers."

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office said Rivers died of gunshot wounds and his death was a homicide.

Rivers, 42, of St. Paul, had been in critical condition since the attack. Two other people were wounded but survived.

Company officials had just fired Engeldinger for lateness and poor performance when he pulled out a gun and started shooting. He killed the company's founder, three other Accent employees and a UPS driver before turning the gun on himself.

According to police reports, Engeldinger shot Rivers and grazed Battites Wesley, another employee, in the production area. Wesley told investigators he saw Engeldinger shoot Rivers three times. One of the bullets hit the main artery in Rivers' leg, one report said, causing him to lose a lot of blood.

 
 

Depression meds found in Accent Signage shooter's home, police say

By Madeleine Baran - Minnesota Public Radio

October 8, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS A police search of the home of Accent Signage Systems shooter Andrew Engeldinger found medications commonly prescribed for depression and insomnia, according to a Minneapolis Police Department report.

The medications are an indication that Engeldinger may have been treated for mental illness. That contrasts with the account of family members who said Engeldinger refused psychiatric treatment and had never been diagnosed with a mental illness. Family members said Engeldinger stopped talking to them about two years ago when he became increasingly paranoid and delusional.

Authorities have not said whether mental illness played a role in the killing. Police say Engeldinger shot and killed five people before committing suicide after being fired from his job at Accent Signage in Minneapolis on Sept. 27.

Police found prescription bottles for two anti-depressant medications, Mirtazapine and Trazodone, and for Temazepam, a medication used to treat insomnia, in Engeldinger's home. They also found many empty prescription bottles, including 18 empty prescription bottles for a generic form of the anti-depressant drug Wellbutrin, according to the police report.

All of the prescriptions bottles bore Engeldinger's name. The report did not list the dates of the prescriptions or the names of prescribing physicians. Engeldinger's mother, Carolyn Engeldinger, told police the family has a history of schizophrenia. Police did not find any anti-psychotic medications, which are commonly prescribed for schizophrenia, in Engeldinger's home.

The report also indicates Engeldinger's interest in guns likely began about a year ago.

Minneapolis Police Sgt. Michael Chiappetta, who works part-time at the Burnsville Rifle and Pistol Range, told police he recognized Engeldinger as a frequent customer at the range. He said Engeldinger appeared to be a "new shooter and was trying to gain proficiency shooting," according to the report.

Burnsville Rifle and Pistol Range owner Roger Hird told investigators Engeldinger started coming to the range about a year ago and had practiced there 44 times, most recently on July 29. The range temporarily closed down a few days later due to a fire. The company has not responded to calls and emails seeking comment.

Engeldinger bought the gun he used in the shooting from a Minneapolis gun store.

He ordered 12,000 rounds of 9 mm ammunition from the website of SGAmmo, a company based in Oklahoma, from Oct. 15, 2011 to July 9, 2012 and paid $2,704.32, the report said.

Police have not determined when Engeldinger made the decision to carry out the deadly rampage. Several employees interviewed by police described Engeldinger as a loner who had problems showing up to work on time. No one described him as violent.

William Sullivan, identified by police as Engeldinger's "primary co-worker," told investigators that Engeldinger was "a laid back guy" who rarely started a conversation or discussed personal matters.

Engeldinger never talked about guns and never said that he disliked anyone at work, Sullivan told police.

In the hours leading up to the killing, Sullivan did not notice anything unusual about his coworker's behavior.

"Everything appeared to be normal," he told police.

 
 

Andrew Engeldinger, Minnesota Gunman, Said 'Oh Really' Before He Started Shooting

By Steve Karnovski - HuffingtonPost.com

October 6, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS After being told he was losing his job at a Minneapolis sign company, Andrew Engeldinger responded by saying "oh really," taking out a gun and opening fire on his two managers. Then he fired again as the company owner tried to help his wounded employees.

Police reports released Friday provided new details of the shooting rampage last week at Accent Signage Systems that left six people dead, including the gunman, and three wounded. It was Minnesota's deadliest workplace shooting.

The reports show that the 36-year-old Engeldinger shot two of the company's top managers, John Souter and Rami Crooks, just as they were terminating him at the end of his workday Sept. 27.

"Engeldinger responded by saying `oh really' and took out a gun that he had in a holster in his waist area," one report said.

Around nine shots were fired in the ensuing struggle in Souter's office, and a magazine with about seven live rounds fell to the floor. Souter was shot in the chest but able to leave his office as the struggle moved into the hallway, and he asked for someone to call 911. Souter remained hospitalized Friday.

Cooks was shot several times, including at least once in the head, but remained on his feet, the reports said. He later died at a hospital.

Company owner and founder Reuven Rahamim came out of his office next door and was on the ground trying to help one of his wounded employees just before Engeldinger fatally shot him, according to the reports.

His executive assistant, Amanda Crotty, told police that Rahamim was on the floor, holding Souter, when Engeldinger shot Rahamim twice in the head at close range. Crotty said she ran and hid under her desk.

Engeldinger's demeanor was described as calm, and witnesses said he didn't "appear to be moving fast but walking and moving in a normal manner," according to one report.

The report also described Engeldinger calmly walking past Crotty and other women in the office toward another part of the building before they heard him start firing again, shooting other male employees along the way while leaving women alone.

He shot employee Jacob Beneke in the sign display area, while employee Ron Edberg and UPS driver Keith Basinski were both shot in the loading dock. All three men died.

Another employee, Eric Rivers, remained hospitalized Friday in critical condition, while Souter was in "satisfactory" condition, according to Hennepin County Medical Center. Another employee grazed by a bullet has been released.

Many of the documents describe how police quickly converged on the company after the first 911 call came in. Officers said they were acting methodically and cautiously as they entered the building because they weren't sure where Engeldinger was.

Officers eventually found Engeldinger dead, seated in a chair in the basement with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the police reports. His Glock 9 mm semi-automatic pistol was near his feet.

Souter told police at the hospital that night that Engeldinger was an introvert. According to documents in his personnel file, his shortcomings on the job included the quality of his work, showing up late and problems in his dealings with other employees.

Another report detailed police interviews with Engeldinger's parents, who have said their son struggled with mental illness for years and had shut them out of his life for nearly two years before the attack. Engeldinger's mother told police her family had a clinically diagnosed history of schizophrenia, and described her son as "competitive and intelligent."

His father said Engeldinger was "competitive and liked things done by the book." He said his son was made fun of as a teenager for having "a high level of intelligence," and also said his son went through a drug rehab program in his late teens or early 20s.

Both parents said their son didn't have a girlfriend and had "no known friends."

One report said the gun used in the attack was purchased in October 2011 from KGS Guns and Ammo in Minneapolis. The shop's owner, Mark Koscielski, told The Associated Press that he sold Engeldinger the gun he recalled the price as around $620

after Engeldinger filled out a permit-to-purchase application with police and passed an FBI check. He said he made small talk with Engeldinger because he noticed his address wasn't far from where Koscielski grew up, but nothing stood out in memory about the conversation.

After that, Koscielski said, "He just came in a few times to window-shop, but that's about it."

 
 

Gunman fired day of Minneapolis office shooting

By Amy Forliti and Patrick Condon - Associated Press

Wday.com

September 28, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) A man fired just hours earlier from his job at a Minneapolis sign-making business walked into the company's loading dock and began shooting, killing the owner and three others before turning the gun on himself, police said Friday.

Andrew Engeldinger, 36, injured at least four others in the attack Thursday at Accent Signage Systems. Police Chief Tim Dolan said Engeldinger was fired from the company that morning, then returned about 4:25 p.m.

The attack lasted no more than 10 or 15 minutes, Dolan estimated, and Engeldinger may have chosen to spare some former co-workers.

"It's clear he did walk by some people, very clear," Dolan said.

Police gave no details about why Engeldinger was fired. The company has declined to give any information since the attack.

Investigators who searched Engeldinger's house Thursday night in south Minneapolis found another gun and packaging for 10,000 rounds of ammunition in the house. In the shooting, Engeldinger used a 9mm Glock semi-automatic pistol he had owned for about a year, Dolan said.

"He's obviously been practicing in how to use that gun," Dolan said.

Among those killed was Accent Signage System owner Reuven Rahamim, 61, and Keith Basinski, a UPS driver who had made deliveries and pickups at the business for years.

"He just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time," Dolan said of Basinski.

The other victims weren't immediately identified. Two people remained at Hennepin County Medical Center on Friday, one in serious condition and one critical.

"It was a hellish time," Dolan said of the attack.

Police received multiple 911 calls from inside the business. When they arrived, Dolan said, they heard no shots.

He described Accent, a business that includes both offices and manufacturing, as a large building with many rooms branching off to the sides. It took tactical units a long time to thoroughly search the building, and they found two people hiding "a very long time" after the attack began, Dolan said.

There was no security at the building, he said.

Engeldinger's uncle, Joe Engeldinger of New Germany, Minn., called his nephew a "good kid" who seemed normal and well-adjusted until about two years ago when he broke off contact with his entire family.

"When I would see his family, I would ask them about Andy and nobody could ever tell me anything," Joe Engeldinger said. He couldn't specifically remember the last time he saw his nephew, but said it may have been at a family birthday party about three years ago.

They were once much closer. Joe Engeldinger, a professional handyman, said Andrew lived with him for a time in the early 1990s shortly after graduating high school, and worked for him helping to renovate old houses.

"He was a good worker. I never didn't trust him with anything," Joe Engeldinger said.

Charles and Carolyn Engeldinger raised Andrew and his two siblings in Richfield, a suburb directly south of Minneapolis, according to Joe Engeldinger. He said his nephew graduated from high school but didn't attend college, and was excited early in the last decade when he bought his first house the modest bungalow in south Minneapolis that police raided late Thursday night, hours after the shooting.

Thomas Pitheon, a neighbor who lived across a rear alley and just down from Engeldinger's house, said he sometimes exchanged greetings with the man he knew as Andrew but that he rarely made much of an impression otherwise.

"We just said hi, how you doing, that sort of thing," Pitheon said Friday. "He seemed like an average guy."

Pitheon said he "put two and two together" Thursday night after hearing about the shooting on the radio, then arriving home after dark to find "about a dozen" SWAT teams swarming around Engeldinger's house.

Joe Engeldinger said Andrew's immediate family were having a "horrible time" since learning what happened. He said they were as befuddled as anyone about why he withdrew from loved ones.

The phone line apparently belonging to Engeldinger's parents was not in working order Friday. His siblings, who also appear to live in the Twin Cities, did not answer phone calls or respond to messages through social media channels.

"I can only assume there was some kind of mental break there," Joe Engeldinger said. "He wasn't a monster. He wasn't. He was a real good kid, a real good person. He had a real good heart. I don't know what made all this transpire. Hopefully the truth will come out, and won't get twisted into some demented thing."

 
 

Shooter, business owner, UPS driver among those killer

By Mary Lynn Smith and Abby Simons - StarTribune.com

September 28, 2012

A man who apparently had just lost his job at a small business in Minneapolis' Bryn Mawr neighborhood returned to the building Thursday afternoon and opened fire, killing the company's founder and three others and wounding four others before taking his own life.

Two other company executives, director of operations John Souter and production manager Eric Rivers, were in critical condition at Hennepin County Medical Center. Hospital officials said one other victim was in critical condition and a fourth was in satisfactory condition. Those two wounded victims have not been identified.

Police swarmed to the chaotic scene, which unfolded just after 4:30 p.m. inside Accent Signage Systems, 2322 Chestnut Av. W. One of the dead was company founder Reuven Rahamim, a business associate of Rahamim said late Thursday.

As those from the neighborhood who heard the shots fled in fear or gathered nearby seeking information, officers from many law enforcement agencies, including SWAT team specialists, swarmed to the scene. About an hour into the incident, scanner reports came that the shooter was dead of a self-inflicted gunshot in the building's basement. Although his name was not released or confirmed by police or the company, sources identified him as Andrew J. Engeldinger, 36. Late Thursday, the south Minneapolis house Engeldinger owns and occupies was searched by rifle-toting law enforcement personnel wearing body armor.

Minneapolis Deputy Police Chief Kris Arneson told reporters at a 7:30 p.m. news conference near the scene that "several are dead," but said she couldn't verify an exact number. She said officers did not exchange gunfire with the shooter, whose body was found in a warehouse on the property. Early Friday, police confirmed that four people and the gunman were dead.

Police declined to identify any of those killed or injured, saying names will be released by the Hennepin County medical examiner. Police also declined to say whether the suspected shooter was a current or former employee of Accent Signage.

Arneson said someone called 911 from the business at 4:35 p.m. and said shots were being fired. The first officers on the scene got inside and got some people out, she said.

"This is something we see on the news in other parts of the country, not here in Minneapolis," she noted.

Nationwide, 458 people died last year in work-related homicides, according to preliminary information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2009, that number was 521.

Company spokeswoman Wendy Khabie said employees are "all shaken up."

'We froze and ... just ran'

Neighborhood residents gathered to share information as the sunny afternoon gave way to cool evening. Resident Heidi Pierce said a police officer told her several people had been shot and that the shooter was a man with a ponytail who was a disgruntled former employee.

South High student Marques Jones, 17, said he was having his senior pictures taken at the old Glenwood Inglewood water plant about a quarter-mile north of Accent Signage when he and the photographer heard gunshots.

"We heard probably five [shots]," Jones said. "They were loud. Loud enough to make you jump. We froze and [then] just ran for our cars."

Brandon Bell said he was on a sidewalk that runs along Bassett Creek just opposite the business when he heard two shots.

Becky Ridgeway said she was driving on Plymouth Avenue N. when she saw several Minneapolis police cars pull out of the Fourth Precinct station and head toward the scene. She said she followed and got out of her car at Chestnut to get a better look.

"I saw a police officer behind a tree," Ridgeway said. "He started yelling at me to turn around and get out" of there. She said she saw two ambulances leave the scene as a third arrived.

Several Hennepin County sheriff's deputies with rifles trained on the building stood on a bridge over Penn and 1 1/2 Avenues N. Dozens of people looked on from the foot of the bridge.

Tracey Pyscher, who lives nearby, was out for an afternoon walk when she saw police cars gathered near the business. "The police were standing behind their vehicles and were pointing their rifles at the business," she said.

Local activist and anti-violence activist KG Wilson said police told him they had found the shooter dead of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.

As the incident unfolded during rush hour, exits leading off Interstate 394 were closed, slowing traffic.

An innovative business

Accent Signage, founded in 1984 by Rahamim, creates interior signs for companies and industries. Business associate Michael Allshouse said he heard about Rahamim's death from people associated with the company.

Allshouse, who works for another sign company, has known Rahamim for 18 years and worked with him on several projects. Rahamim not only was a successful businessman but an inventor, Allshouse said. One of his patents is for a system that puts Braille onto the signs and placards at hotels. "He built a very successful sign company," Allshouse said.

Accent is a small company with employees who all knew one another. "They were very tight," Allshouse said. And Rahamim knew them all.

"He was a very good and generous man," Allshouse said. "He was always willing to step up and help out. He was generous with his employees and their families."

Daniel Kantor, the owner of a design firm, had planned to pick up some work at the sign fabricating company on Thursday afternoon. "It was 3:30 and I decided I didn't want to fight the traffic," he said. "I'm so glad I decided not to."

But Kantor was concerned about the people he's come to know at Accent. "They're wonderful people. They are the salt-of-the-earth human beings who are a joy to work with," he said.

Mayor R.T. Rybak said he and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison recently visited Accent Signage because it was held up as 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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