Minneapolis shooting: Remembering the victims
By MPR News staff
MINNEAPOLIS -- Reuven Rahamim was among the six people who died in Thursday's shooting rampage on the western edge of Minneapolis. A UPS driver making a delivery to Rahamin's business, where the shooting took place, was also one of the victims.
Minneapolis Police identified the five victims who died as Rahamim, 61, of St. Louis Park; Rami Cooks, 62, of Minnetonka; Ronald Edberg, 58, of Brooklyn Center; Keith Basinski, 50, of Spring Lake Park; and Jacob Beneke, 34, of Maple Grove.
Cooks initially survived a gunshot wound to the head and was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center. He died at HCMC at 11:18 p.m. Thursday.
Police also identified the suspected gunman as Andrew Engeldinger, 36, of Minneapolis, who died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
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Mayor R.T. Rybak said he had toured Rahamin's business about a month ago, and described its owner as a "super smart" and "charismatic" Israeli immigrant who had started "a classic family business."
"I think the tour was supposed to be a half-hour. It was easily an hour and half because he got so excited about every detail, and rightfully, of this great business. It's a phenomenal place," Rybak said. "I just want us all to surround everyone we know from that company with as much support as we can. You know they're going to need it."
U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison was on the tour of the business with Rybak and said he was "deeply saddened" by the shooting. "My thoughts are with the families of those lost."
"Now is a time for the Minneapolis metropolitan community to come together in mourning and solidarity," Ellison said.
Dave Johnson, the operations manager at Johnson Plastics, which did business with Accent, described Rahamim as a pioneer in the signage industry. In the early 1990s, Rahamim developed software and a machine to make signs in Braille that would comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Johnson said. Companies across the country relied on his technology to make Braille signs, Johnson said.
More recently, Rahamim became involved in new efforts to make products more environmentally friendly and had started offering signs made out of recycled materials, Johnson said.
"He was way ahead of his time," Johnson said.
When Johnson heard about the shooting, he said he kept praying Rahamim wasn't one of the victims. When he found out Rahamim was among the dead, his heart sank.
"I'm just in shock," Johnson said. His death is "going to have a lasting effect on this industry. He was a big impact player."
Rahamim was also on the board of directors at Beth El Synagogue's board in St. Louis Park. On Friday, Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), said he was stunned by the deaths, and injuries to others.
"The Jewish community is shocked and deeply saddened by yesterday's senseless act of violence. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family members of Reuven Rahamim and other victims of yesterday's shooting. We wish John Souter and Eric Rivers a full and speedy recovery," Hunegs said. "Reuven was a wonderful family man and deeply committed to his synagogue, community, country, and native Israel. Please respect his family's need for privacy during this difficult time."
A UPS driver was also killed in the shooting; his brown truck remained parked outside the company's building on Friday morning, surrounded by crime scene tape.
UPS spokeswoman Jill Schubert said the company was, "profoundly shocked and saddened over this tragic event involving our driver, Keith Basinski. Our deepest sympathies go out to his family and the families of the other victims. We also pray for the full recovery of others injured in the shooting. Keith had been a part of our UPS family for 29 years and we are going to miss him very much. We are cooperating fully with authorities in their investigation."
- Morning Edition, 10/01/2012, 7:25 a.m.