A gunman who opened fire inside a Minneapolis sign-making business killed four people before fatally shooting himself, police said early Friday.

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MINNEAPOLIS — A man who apparently had just lost his job at a sign-making business in Minneapolis returned to the building Thursday and opened fire, killing four people — including the company’s founder — and wounding at least four others before taking his own life.

Police said early Friday that five people were killed; only the gunman and company founder Reuven Rahamim were known to be dead.

Two other company executives, director of operations John Souter and production manager Eric Rivers, were in critical condition at Hennepin County Medical Center. Hospital officials said one other victim was in critical condition and a fourth was in satisfactory condition. Those two victims were not identified.

Police swarmed to the scene just after 4:30 p.m. inside Accent Signage Systems. One of the dead was Rahamim, a business associate said late Thursday.

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Although his name was not released or confirmed by police or the company, sources the shooter as Andrew Engeldinger, 36. Late Thursday, the south Minneapolis house Engeldinger owns and occupies was searched by law-enforcement personnel wearing body armor.

Police said little about the attack. Minneapolis Deputy Police Chief Kris Arneson said at a 7:30 p.m. news conference near the scene that “several are dead,” but said she couldn’t verify an exact number. She said officers did not exchange gunfire with the shooter, whose body was found in a warehouse on the property.

Arneson also declined to identify any of those killed or injured, and declined to say whether the suspected shooter was a current or former employee of Accent Signage.

Arneson said someone called 911 from the business at 4:35 p.m. and said shots were being fired. The first officers on the scene got inside and got some people out, she said.

“This is something we see on the news in other parts of the country, not here in Minneapolis,” she noted.

Nationwide, 458 people died last year in work-related homicides, according to preliminary information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2009, that number was 521.

Company spokeswoman Wendy Khabie said employees are “all shaken up.”

Neighborhood residents Heidi Pierce said a police officer told her several people had been shot and that the shooter was a man with a ponytail who was a disgruntled former employee.

Accent Signage, founded in 1984 by Rahamim, creates interior signs for companies and industries. Business associate Michael Allshouse said he heard about Rahamim’s death from people associated with the company.

Allshouse, who works for another sign company, has known Rahamim for 18 years and worked with him on several projects. Rahamim was also an inventor, Allshouse said. One of his patents is for a system that puts Braille onto the signs and placards at hotels. “He built a very successful sign company,” Allshouse said.

Accent is a small company with employees who all knew one another. “They were very tight,” Allshouse said. And Rahamim knew them all.

“He was a very good and generous man,” Allshouse said. “He was always willing to step up and help out. He was generous with his employees and their families.”

Mayor R.T. Rybak said he and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison recently visited Accent Signage because it was held up as a national model for exporting practices. Rybak said he’d been assured that the surviving employees were “together and being cared for.”

“We are deeply sorry about what has happened here,” he said, adding that it was “a horrible tragedy.”

Staff writers Matt McKinney and Nicole Norfleet contributed to this report.

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