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Friday, September 28, 2012

2 ex-Israelis among 5 killed in Minnesota office shooting

MINNEAPOLIS — Two former Israelis were among five people killed in a shooting at a Minneapolis, Minnesota sign-making business on Thursday.

Police spokesman Sgt. Stephen McCarty said the gunman also left four people wounded in the attack before apparently shooting himself. Police did not immediately release the shooter’s identity or a motive.

Reuven Rahamim, an Israeli expat and the founder of Accent Signage Systems, was shot to death at his office in a residential neighborhood on the north side of the city, his son-in-law Chad Blumenfield said in a statement.

An “incredibly proud husband, son, father and grandfather, has passed away in a senseless act of violence,” Blumenfield said. “Other members of the Accent family tragically lost their lives as well, and we mourn their loss.” He provided no details.

A relative of one of the victims said that the gunman was an employee who had been fired from his job earlier that day who wanted to “settle the score” with management, reported Ynet. “Unfortunately police arrived after the shooting ended and the gunman killed himself.”

A police summary of the shooting issued early Friday described a chaotic scene, with multiple 911 calls from the business and a caller saying someone had been shot inside. When police arrived, they found four people already dead.

Of the wounded, John Souter’s condition was upgraded from critical to serious as of Friday morning and Eric Rivers remained in critical condition, according to Christine Hill, a spokeswoman for the Hennepin County Medical Center where they were being treated. She had no information on the condition of a third man earlier listed in critical condition.

A fourth person injured was treated and released, Hill said Friday.

Police spokesman McCarty said police late Thursday searched a house where the suspected gunman had lived but found “nothing that we know of.” He declined to confirm a newspaper report that named the suspect.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton expressed his condolences to the families and friends of those involved.

“I deplore this senseless violence. There is no place for it anywhere in Minnesota,” Dayton said.

Dozens of police squad cars and SWAT officers swarmed the Bryn Mawr neighborhood where the business is located, after an employee called 911 around 4:30 p.m. to say shots had been fired. The first officers on the scene evacuated people from the business that makes interior signage and closed off several blocks.

Marques Jones, 18, of Minneapolis, said he was outside a building down the street having his high school senior pictures taken when he and his photographer heard gunfire that sounded close.

“We heard about four to five gunshots,” Jones said. “We were shocked at what happened and we just looked at each other. We all just took off running to our vehicles.”

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