Several killed in shooting at Mpls. business

MINNEAPOLIS -- Police said "several" people were killed and at least three critically injured late Thursday afternoon in a workplace shooting in Minneapolis' Bryn Mawr neighborhood, police said.

MINNEAPOLIS -- Police said "several" people were killed and at least three critically injured late Thursday afternoon in a workplace shooting in Minneapolis' Bryn Mawr neighborhood, police said.

The shootings took place just after 4:30 p.m. inside Accent Signage Systems. Officers from multiple law enforcement agencies, including SWAT team specialists, soon swarmed to the scene and scanner reports followed that the shooter was dead of a self-inflicted gunshot in the basement.

Accent Signage, which employs 25 people, creates signs for companies and industries.

Several ambulances left the building for area hospitals. Hennepin County Medical Center said it was treating three people who were in critical condition and a fourth with injuries that weren't life-threatening.

Minneapolis Deputy Police Chief Kris Arneson told reporters Thursday night at a news conference near the scene that "several are dead," but she added she did not want to specify a number because she wasn't sure. She said officers did not engage in gunfire with the shooter, whose body was in a warehouse on the property, she said.


Arneson declined to identify any of those killed or injured, saying identities would be released by the Hennepin County medical examiner's office. She also refused to say whether the suspected shooter was a current or former employee of Accent Signage.

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

Heidi Pierce, a resident of the area, said a police officer told her that several people had been shot and that the shooter was a white man with a ponytail who was a disgruntled employee of the business.

South High student Marques Jones, 17, said he was having his senior pictures taken about a quarter mile north of Accent Signage when he and the photographer heard gunshots about 4:30.

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

Brandon Bell said he was on a sidewalk just opposite the business when he heard what he thought were two shots about 5 p.m.

Becky Ridgeway said she was driving on Plymouth Avenue when she saw several Minneapolis police squads pull out of the 4th Precinct station and head toward the emergency. She said she followed them and got out of her car 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)." Ridgeway said she saw two ambulances leave the scene as a third arrived.


Tracey Pyscher, who lives about a block-and-a-half away from the business, was heading 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 rifle at the business," she said.

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

Accent Signage, which was started in 1996 by owner Reuven Rahamim, has annual revenue of $5 million to $10 million, according to company officials interviewed earlier Thursday by a freelance journalist who has worked for the Star Tribune. In March 2012, Rahamim was part of a delegation representing Minneapolis businesses at a White House meeting on jobs and the economy.

The company has 3,500 customers worldwide. It makes a variety of signs and holds a patent for a method used to manufacture Braille signs and, according to the freelancer, is highly regarded with pro-environment building folks.

Mayor R.T. Rybak told reporters on the scene that he and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison recent visited Accent Signage because it was being 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," Rybak said, adding that Thursday's events were "a horrible tragedy."

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