Minneapolis shooting victims remembered, mourned

AP News
|
Posted: Sep 28, 2012 8:02 PM
Minneapolis shooting victims remembered, mourned

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — One was a prideful entrepreneur, known at City Hall and recognized by federal leaders for his ingenuity and business spirit. Another was a package deliveryman known for his devotion to his children and the Green Bay Packers. A third was a promising artist with a young family.

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:

___

After starting his sign-making business in his basement, Reuven 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.

___

UPS deliveryman Keith Basinski 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 sons and a daughter lived in the northern Twin Cities suburb of Spring Lake Park. His mother, Cleo Basinski, told KARE-TV that he moved to Minnesota to attend Northwestern Bible College, where he graduated. She described him as a gentle spirit and dedicated father.

His son, Brent Basinski, told the Star Tribune newspaper that his father was committed to his job and, as a Wisconsin native, to the Green Bay Packers. Although his dad recently celebrated a milestone birthday, he "was the youngest 50-year-old I've ever known," his son said.

"He had no plans of retiring anytime soon," Brent Basinski said.

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."

___

Jacob Beneke was an avid sculpture artist and painter, known to friends as "a very cool guy" whose art incorporated recycled material and often made people laugh.

The 34-year-old worked as the digital imaging manager at Accent Signage Systems, according to his Facebook page. He listed his hometown as New Albin, Iowa, and said he studied at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wis. He had a wife and young son.

Lorrie Link, who heads the Maple Grove Arts Center, said Beneke's sculptures and paintings stood out, and that he also worked to promote artists in the northwestern Minneapolis suburb.

"He was just a very cool guy," Link said. "He was very creative and expressive. His sculptures and paintings and drawings made us laugh."

Link said Beneke incorporated farm equipment and other used parts into his sculptures, making one called "White Rabbit" out of a chain saw motor.

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.