MINNEAPOLIS - With a fresh coat of paint, newcomers may not even realize Accent Signage experienced one of the worst workplace shootings in Minnesota history.
Friday is the first anniversary of the mass shooting and for those who live and work in the Bryn Mawr neighborhood, it has been a year of healing.
"It was surprising for the community," said Gerry Seiler, owner of Cockadoodledoo Gift Shop. "It won't be forgotten."
Suffering from mental illness Andrew Engledinger shot and killed six people before killing himself last year shortly after getting laid off from Accent.
Owner Reuven Rahamim, Rami Cooks, Jacob Beneke, Eric Rivers, Ronald Edberg, and UPS driver Keith Basinski were all killed. Basinki's UPS hat and picture now have a permanent place on a neighborhood bench not far from where he died.
"He was absolute ray of sunshine even if I didn't know his name. You don't have to know his name to love him," said neighbor Hans Gasterland who came in contact with the UPS driver.
John Souter was severely injured in the shooting. In a statement to KARE 11, Souter said he was grateful for the people who have helped him over the past year and remarked about losing six of his friends and colleagues.
"There has not been a single day or night since this whole sordid affair happened, when this has not been replayed in my mind, over and over again. My heart goes out to the family and friends of those who perished in this senseless act of gun violence," he said.
Gasterland says he often thinks about the victims as he drives by Accent Signage. He also distinctly remembers helping one of the Accent employees who escaped the gunfire.
"I was just hanging out in the garage and he just said, help me, there's been a shooting," he said.
It was that violence that forced some into action. Local legislators tried to push for tougher gun laws but for the most part the effort failed. It's a push that Souter, along with others still pursue.
"If this helps prevent others from going through the nightmare of being shot, or loosing loved ones to gun violence," said Souter.
Legislators did increase funding for mental health.
"The legislature actually took some great bold steps to improve the children mental health system, which is really important because we have to intervene early," said Sue Abderholden with the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Abderholden also says more is being done to follow children who suffer from mental illness from the hospital to their home. And a work force shortage summit most likely will take place in the end of May.
She says that is where the need is the most pressing.
"The average wait time for someone who begins to experience psychotic symptoms until they get treatment is 110 weeks," she said.
So the work continues and in Bryn Mawr, so does the healing.
"I'm proud of the way the neighborhood is bouncing back," said Gasterland. "And I'm proud of my community."
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