MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) – A prideful entrepreneur, known at City Hall and recognized by federal leaders for his ingenuity and business spirit. A package deliveryman known for his devotion to his children and the Green Bay Packers. The promising artist with a young family. A quiet outdoorsman who had a big sense of humor.
They were among five victims fatally shot by a fired employee at a Minneapolis sign-making business; the gunman also killed himself. Here are some of the victims’ stories:
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office released the names of the victims Friday afternoon. They are reported as:
– Rami Cooks, 62, of Minnetonka;
– Keith Basinski, 50, of Spring Lake Park;
– Ronald Edberg, 58, of Brooklyn Center;
– Jacob Beneke, 34, of Maple Grove;
– Reuven Rahamim, 61, of St. Louis Park.
The gunman, 36-year-old Andrew Engeldinger, also died at the scene of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police say.
On Thursday afternoon, Engeldinger walked into Accent Signage Systems’ loading dock, killing four and wounding at least three others. He had lost his job earlier that day.
Most of the victims suffered multiple gunshot wounds and died at the workplace, the medical examiner’s office said. Cooks died at the Hennepin County Medical Center after suffering a single gunshot wound.
Two surviving victims are still at the Hennepin County Medical Center. One is in critical condition; the other was upgraded to serious condition. Their names have not been released.
After starting his sign-making business in his basement, Rahamim spent the next three decades building it into a company praised by local and federal officials. But he was equally devoted to his large family, and especially loved riding bikes with his grandson.
Rahamim grew up on a farm in Israel and served in the Israeli army before coming to the U.S. after the 1973 Arab-Israel War, said his son-in-law, Chad Blumenfield.
The 61-year-old grandfather was devoted to his work and had a passion for developing greener products. But he also loved to cook, entertain friends and spend time with his family, Blumenfield wrote in an email, calling his father-in-law “dedicated, loyal and dearly loved.”
Rahamim founded Accent Signage Systems Inc. in the basement of his Minneapolis home in the early 1980s, according to local business publication Finance & Commerce. With a patent for a method of making Braille signs for the blind, the company specializes in signs that meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
Noting that the company’s signs hang in the White House and are exported to China, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said Rahamim lived the American dream.
“He is an example of somebody who climbed the ladder of success and didn’t pull it up, but tried every way possible to get other people up on that rung, too,” Rybak said.
Basinski, a UPS deliveryman, was a familiar face on the route that took him to a sign company in a leafy northern Minneapolis neighborhood. Police say he was loading his truck when he was shot.
“He just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan said.
The 50-year-old father of two adult sons lived in the northern Twin Cities suburb of Spring Lake Park.
His ex-wife, Jenny Gambill, said his death is a huge loss for her family.
“I feel like there’s something missing,” she said. “His smile is gone.”
A neighbor, Nina Nguyn, described Basinski as a family man who “didn’t have single mean bone in his body.”
Jill Schubert, president of the UPS Northern Plains District, said Basinski had been with the company 29 years, adding: “We are going to miss him very much.”
A memorial fund has been set up for Basinski. Donations can be mailed to or dropped off at:
First Advantage Bank
9950 Foley Boulevard, NE
Coon Rapids, Minn.
All check or money orders should be made payable to the Keith Basinski Memorial Fund.
Ronald Edberg was a quiet outdoorsman with a big sense of humor.
The 58-year-old father had worked for more than a decade in design production at Accent Signage Systems. But in his free time, his daughter said, he loved fishing and hunting.
Beneke was a digital imaging manager at Accent, and an artist. He donated much of his time to the Maple Grove ArtsCenter, where his award-winning art is still on display.
Lorrie Link awarded Beneke a second place ribbon for his work, but she never expected it would be his last.
“He will be missed,” Link said. “This is such a tragedy.”
She had planned on meeting with Beneke Thursday night. She said Beneke’s wife and son were also active at the art center.
On a personal website, Beneke talked about his artistic background, saying he went to school to be a graphic designer. He said he later studied traditional bronze sculpture and jewelry in Italy, where he made sculptures out of material left over from the renovation of a 12th-century Tuscan home.
“All my life I have enjoyed building things and the problem solving involved,” he said.
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