Eric B. Rivers, critically wounded during the Minneapolis sign factory shootings last month, died Wednesday night of his injuries, his family and authorities said Thursday morning. The state's worst workplace violence in at least 20 years now has claimed six lives, in addition to the gunman's.
Rivers, who was Accent Signage Systems' production manager, "passed away peacefully last night," his family said in a statement Thursday released by Hennepin County Medical Center.
The 42-year-old St. Paul man had been in critical condition since the Sept. 27 shootings. The medical examiner's office said Thursday night that he died of multiple gunshot wounds.
In their statement, the family said: "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 have been caring for Eric. At this time, the family asks for privacy as they deal with this tragedy. We thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers."
Accent Signage spokeswoman Wendy Khabie said in a statement Thursday that the company "mourns the death of our dear friend and colleague, Eric Rivers."
Bill Sullivan, who worked at the sign company, said that Rivers was very approachable and knowledgeable on many subjects, not just the sign business. "He was a great guy to talk to," said Sullivan. "He knew so much. He was very impressive."
Sullivan had left his workplace at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 27, only minutes before the shooting started. "It's surreal," Sullivan said. "It's hard to believe. You don't expect it to happen to anybody."
Andrew Engeldinger, 36, went on his rampage after being fired from his job. Only two of the eight people he shot with a semi-automatic handgun survived.
One of the wounded, 41-year-old Battites Wesley of Minneapolis, was grazed by a bullet.
John Souter, 63, of Wayzata, Accent's director of operations, also was shot, but survived.
Star Tribune staff writer Nicole Norfleet and researcher John Wareham contributed to this report. Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482 Nicole Norfleet • 612-673-4495