From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Andrew J. Engeldinger's descent into darkness began two years ago,
but even as he retreated from family and bought handguns and ammunition,
he kept coming to work at the Accent Signage Systems factory in
Engeldinger, 36, worked his shift Thursday and was told that after a
dozen years, he no longer had a job. Then he pulled out a 9mm Glock
handgun and committed the largest workplace massacre in recent Minnesota
On Friday, the scale of the rampage came into focus: Five people were
killed, including the founder of the acclaimed sign manufacturer and a
visiting UPS driver. Three others were injured.
Police Chief Tim Dolan said Engeldinger apparently spared some
employees in "the hellish time" as workers dialed 911 and hid in terror.
It all ended in minutes, after Engeldinger went into the building's
basement and fired a final bullet into his own head.
Police who searched his home across town in south Minneapolis found a
second handgun and packaging for 10,000 rounds of ammunition, but no
"Maybe something finally snapped, but I don't know why," said his uncle Joseph Engeldinger.
The victims included company owner Reuven Rahamim, 61, of St. Louis
Park; United Parcel Service driver Keith Basinski, 50, of Spring Lake
Park; Rami Cooks, 62, of Minnetonka; Ronald Edberg, 58, of Brooklyn
Center and Jacob Beneke, 34, of Maple Grove.
Two employees remained hospitalized at Hennepin County Medical Center
late Friday afternoon. Accent's director of operations, John Souter of
Wayzata, was in serious condition and production manager Eric Rivers was
in critical condition.
James Honerman, a spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Labor and
Industry, called it the deadliest case of workplace violence in
Minnesota since the department began keeping figures in 1992. In the
last two decades, 95 have died, 68 from shootings.
Engeldinger grew up in Richfield and came to work for Accent Signage
in the late 1990s, where he was trained as an engraver by Barry
"He was real intelligent, caught on fast," said Lawrence, who left
Accent Signage but stayed in touch with the company's officers.
Lawrence said Engeldinger was conscientious, and worried about his 401(k) plan and fluctuations in the stock market.
"I remember when he was hired; he was a quiet guy," he said. "I wouldn't have thought he would have done anything like this."
Meaghan Norlander, former comptroller at Accent Signage who left the
company in 2008, described Engeldinger as "a loner" who seemed always
She said that he "internalized everything" and complained at times about being shifted from one job to another.
"The standards were really high," Norlander said. "Reuven was driven. If you didn't live up to his expectations, you failed."
The relationship between Engeldinger and Rahamim was a rocky one.
Norlander recalled a shouting match between the two in 2007, although
she could not remember the details.
In 2003, Engeldinger bought a home in the Powderhorn neighborhood.
Neighbors rarely paid attention to the slight man with a ponytail who
occasionally worked in the yard.
"Never met him. Never heard anything about him," said John Evans, who lives two houses north of Engeldinger.
But in recent years, Engeldinger's family began worrying about what
appeared to be his paranoia and delusions. Two years ago, his parents
attended a 12-week "Family to Family" class offered by the Minnesota National Alliance on Mental Illness. The class is taught by family
members of mentally ill people.
His family hadn't had contact with him for about 21 months after he
had shown signs of possible mental illness, said Sue Abderholden,
executive director of the Minnesota National Alliance on Mental Illness.
"They were trying to get him to seek treatment; they did think
something was wrong," she said. But Engeldinger didn't appear to be a
threat to himself or others -- criteria for petitioning for commitment
to mental health care, she said.
Abderholden said he had been paranoid with some delusions, symptoms
of possible schizophrenia, but was working and able to live alone.
"He was, to the outside world, doing OK," she said.
About a year ago, he bought two handguns, including the Glock
9-millimeter, Dolan said. "Obviously, he'd been practicing how to use
that gun," the chief said.
Engeldinger worked his usual shift on Thursday, but at the end of the
day he was called to the front office. He apparently walked into that
Dolan said Engeldinger first shot people in the front office area,
then walked to the loading dock, shooting others. He singled out his
targets, walking past some people. Basinski, the UPS driver, appeared to
be in the wrong place at the wrong time, Dolan said. Some people in the
building fought back, the chief said, but he wouldn't elaborate.
About 4:30 p.m., 911 calls from inside the building alerted police to
the shooting moments after it began, Dolan said. Three officers arrived
and immediately found victims inside upon entering, he said. Paramedics
followed them in to treat the injured, even though it was still unclear
where the shooter was or if he was still a threat, said Dolan, who
praised the police and the paramedics for their bravery. He said it was
the most traumatic scene that the officers had encountered; the first
officers on the scene have taken temporary leave.
No shots were fired after police arrived, he said. The officers
helped some people out of the building. A SWAT team arrived and began
searching the building. They found Engeldinger's body in the basement.
n a statement, Engeldinger's parents, Charles and Carolyn, said they
will cooperate with authorities, and that their son's struggles with
mental illness and withdrawal from his family are "not an excuse for his
actions, but sadly, may be a partial explanation."
They said their hearts go out to the victims and their families. "Nothing we can say can make up for their loss."
Engeldinger's uncle said that, along with the grief for all the families involved, they're also consumed with puzzlement.
"He wasn't a monster, he wasn't evil, he wasn't a bad guy," Joseph Engeldinger said.
This is why we need more funding more mental health care, treatment, and research. Innocent people should not have to die because of a lunatic. We all know Ronald Reagan slashed funding for mental health care. He even said it was the family's problem and their responsibility.
The Affordable Health Care Act does include provisions for mental health and behaviorial disorders, and well as addictions. Thank you President Obama!
If Reagan wasn't such an asshole six people in Minnesota, 27 in Colorado, seven in Wisconsin, 33 at Virginia Tech, and six in Tucson, AZ would still be alive.
My prayers and thoughts go out to the victims, their families, others wounded in the shooting, and the shooters family.