Accent Signage, site of shooting, back in business

Accent Signage
Shereen Rahamim, wife of Accent Signage owner Reuven Rahamim, pauses before addressing the media at a news conference Monday, Oct. 22, 2012 outside the Minneapolis business where an employee shot and killed her husband and five others.
MPR Photo/Jennifer Simonson

Accent Signage Systems, the Minneapolis sign factory where six people were fatally shot last month, is trying to move on, family members said Monday.

Shereen Rahamim, wife of company owner Reuven Rahamim, spoke publicly on Monday for the first time since the shooting. She thanked the city and the people of Minnesota for their courage and support the day of the shootings.

"I will never get over this, and I don't have to. That is exactly how we feel," Shereen Rahamim said.

Those words were also spoken at one of six funerals for the people shot to death Sept. 27 at the small, family owned sign company in a neighborhood just west of downtown Minneapolis. The last victim, Eric Rivers, died of his wounds Oct. 10.

"But while we will never got over this, together we will get through it. We take great comfort in the community support during this troubled time," she said.

Shereen Rahamim said the people inside the building are rallying, too, getting back to work and getting the sign business going again. Reuven Rahamim, was shot and killed in the rampage, as was one of his top managers, Rami Cooks. Production manager John Souter was gravely wounded.

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Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak was on hand Monday morning to mark the occasion.

"Today is the day that Accent wants us all to know that Accent is back at work," Rybak said.

Rybak said employees are already pulling weekend shifts to keep up.

"That's the kind of thing that we've seen out of Accent. They do interior signs. They innovate. They're especially focused on work that is environmentally sensitive," he said. "They are especially successful in the area of providing for the ability for Braille to be used in signage. And one of the things that Reuven said all along is that we help people find their way. Accent knows where its going and Accent's getting back to work today."

But not everyone is returning.

Six of the company's employees died in the rampage, including Andrew Engeldinger, who pulled out a gun and started shooting as managers were firing him.

Engledinger killed Cooks and Rahamim, then walked through the company, killing Jacob Beneke, Ron Edberg and Rivers. Engeldinger shot and killed UPS driver Keith Basinski as he stood in his truck. All told, Engeldinger killed six people before killing himself.

Rybak said that at least one of the surviving employees is what he called "in transition," and was not among those returning to work. The mayor said he couldn't elaborate on the status of all the workers.

Company spokeswoman Wendy Kahbie and Rahamim also thanked the police, fire personnel and paramedics for their response. They thanked customers and vendors for their encouragement, and thanked the public for its financial support.

Wells Fargo Bank has established a benefit fund for the victims of the shooting.

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