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Minn. Shooting Victim: Expand Background Checks

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The only wounded survivor of the worst workplace shooting in Minnesota history is among those calling on Congress for change.

Dr. John Souter, of Wayzata, was the first person shot at Accent Signage in Minneapolis’ Bryn Mawr neighborhood last September. Seven people, including the shooter, 36-year-old Andrew Engeldinger, died. Engeldinger went on the shooting rampage after he was fired from his job.

Souter has rarely appeared in public, but Thursday he was visibly emotional as he described the moments after he was shot, and the moments after Minneapolis police entered the building to rescue him.

“They didn’t know where the shooter was…they had no clue,” Souter said. “Yet, they came in.”

Souter said he met his rescuers for the first time four months after the shooting, when President Barack Obama held an event in Minneapolis to press his gun control proposals.

On Thursday, Souter called on Third District Republican Congressman Erik Paulsen to support gun restrictions, including an assault weapons ban and restrictions on ammunition. He especially wanted the congressman’s support on universal background checks on all weapons purchases.

“Five of my colleagues died that afternoon, and then a sixth friend died three weeks later at HCMC. Why? Why? This isn’t, this isn’t, this isn’t America,” Souter said.

He added: “People are making this about the Second Amendment. It’s not. It’s about doing the right thing to curb this kind of violence.”

Souter joined a national day of action by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a movement trying to pressure Congress into a vote.

Paulsen, who did not respond to WCCO-TV’s request for an interview, issued a written statement Thursday morning, saying:

“I continue to meet with law enforcement leaders, mental health professionals and others to find effective solutions to reduce gun violence, including fixing holes in the existing background check system.”

Despite the push for changes in gun laws, many of Obama’s proposals are not in the bill that Congress will vote on.

For instance, it appears there won’t be an assault weapons ban, limits on high capacity magazines are in doubt, and universal background checks for all gun sales seem uncertain.

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