Today marks the one-year anniversary of the fatal shootings at Accent Signage Systems, the city’s deadliest workplace shooting. Seven people died, including the gunman, who committed suicide before authorities could move in. Three others were injured.
Those who died included Reuven Rahamim, 61, the company’s founder; Keith Basinski, 50, a UPS driver who was making a delivery; Rami Cooks, 62, the supervisor of the man who committed the shootings; graphic designer Ronald Edberg, 58, and graphic designer Jacob Beneke, 34, who was also known for his art and sculpture. Production manager Eric Rivers, 42, died two weeks later in the hospital as a result of his wounds.
Gunman Andrew Engeldinger, 36, was described by his parents as a loner who had struggled with mental illness and had cut off contact with his family. He had been reprimanded a week before the shootings and told to improve his performance or risk being fired. On the day of the shootings, he was summoned to the office of his supervisor, Cooks, and Director of Operations John Souter to collect his final paycheck. Told that he was being let go, Engeldinger reportedly said, “Oh, really,” and pulled out a 9mm Glock handgun. He shot both men and proceeded through the building, killing some co-workers and walking past others before going to the basement where he fatally shot himself.
Few public remembrances have been planned, but a group in Duluth will hold a noon time remembrance for Accent victims. The memorial, at the Memorial Bell Garden in Lakeplace Park Place, will also observe the “National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims,” a day of mourning held every Sept. 25 since it was designated by Congress in 2007.
The company, which has worked to rebuild after the tragedy, issued the following statement:
On September 27, 2012, many of our friends and co-workers tragically lost their lives. The loss has had an unimaginable impact on many families and has taken a tremendous toll on our company.
Our employees have shown incredible resolve this past year, which has allowed Accent to persevere under incredibly challenging circumstances. We also wish to thank our customers, vendors and the community for the outpouring of support we have received in the past year.
This Friday marks the one-year anniversary of the horrific events that forever changed our lives. Out of respect for our co-workers and the families of those who lost loved ones, we will be observing the solemn day privately. We would ask that you keep our fallen colleagues, their families, and our staff in your thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.”