Bachman CEO killed and wife injured in Beijing attackby Jessica Mador, Minnesota Public Radio
Neighbors and friends are reacting with shock and sadness to the news that Todd Bachman, head of Minneapolis-based Bachman's garden center, was stabbed and killed in Beijing early Saturday. Todd Bachman's wife Barbara was seriously injured in the attack and remains hospitalized.
Lakeville, Minn. — Todd Bachman was an institution in the Twin Cities gardening community. The 62 year old was CEO of Bachman's, a family-owned and operated gardening business founded in 1885.
Dale Bachman, Todd's second cousin and president of Bachman's, ran the company with Todd, Paul and Lee Bachman and worked there together for most of their lives. Dale Bachman spoke at a news conference Saturday about the loss his cousin's death means.
"He was fabulous; he was a friend. I think you have to understand the nature of our business, in that it's hard to say we had a starting time at Bachman's," said Dale Bachman. "We kind of grew up in the business, and we played together and worked together our entire lives."
Todd and Barbara Bachman have three daughters and four grandchildren. Dale says the family and the company are shocked by news of the attack.
He says the Bachmans will also be mourned by the world of volleyball. Their daughter Elisabeth is a 2004 Olympic volleyball player, and the couple spent years traveling to games and volunteering for their daughter's teams.
Elisabeth's former coach Doug Bergman remembers Todd as a special person who made an impression on everyone he met.
"It's just a deep tragedy. I think everyone is shocked, and there is not too much else to add at this point. We haven't heard all of the details, yet, but everything that we have heard has been pretty terrible," said Bergman. "They touched a lot of people. I think there are a lot of people that are pretty sad today, not just here, but throughout the country."
Bergman says people in the Lakeville area, where the Bachmans lived, are slowly coming to grips with the tragic news.
The Bachmans were in Beijing for the Olympics. Their daughter is married to U.S. men's volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon, who was there competing in the games.
At the time of the stabbing, the couple was visiting a popular tourist area not far from the Olympic venue. Barbara suffered life-threatening injuries. The family's tour guide was also seriously injured. Both are being treated at a Beijing hospital. Elisabeth was with her parents during the attack, but she was not hurt.
After the stabbing, the attacker then committed suicide by leaping from Drum Tower, an ancient site the Bachmans were touring.
When asked about the kind of person Barbara Bachman is, Dale Bachman told a story.
"I was told that Todd was a few steps behind Barbara and Elisabeth, and when the attack happened, Barbara heard Todd," he said. "She turned and went back toward Todd, and that is when she was attacked. To me, that was a strong indication of her love. She also is a fabulous woman."
He says the family has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support they've received from the community.
Chinese authorities have identified the attacker as 47-year-old Tang Yongming. They say the attack appears random, and it does not appear to be aimed at Americans. Interpol officials say he acted alone, and it does not appear to be linked to terrorism. They say he was recently divorced, and he was not seen by relatives for two months before the attack. The investigation is ongoing.
A family spokesman says Barbara is in intensive care after undergoing surgery. Todd and Barbara Bachman's other daughters left Saturday to join their mother and sister in China.