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By September 28, 2012, it had been an ongoing situation for Accent Signage when they fired Robert Engeldinger. Engeldinger had received a written reprimand for habitual tardiness and poor work performance. When they fired him, he went out to his car, came back with a pistol, and started shooting. Engeldinger killed four people – including the business owner – and wounded three others, including his supervisor, before taking his own life.

The mass shooting at Accent Signage in Minneapolis highlights one of the most dangerous threats to workplaces nationwide–the disgruntled employee.

Second Leading Cause of On-the-Job Fatalities

Bureau of Labor statistics from 2010 show that 506 workplace homicides occurred, and almost 80% (401) of those were shootings. Assaults and attacks are the second leading cause of fatal injuries for employees on the job. These instances are rare, but the devastation they can cause to employees and the business itself cannot be underestimated.

Sunstates Security President Glenn Burrell says, “Small and medium-sized businesses think it can never happen to them. Supervisors miss the red flags because of a lack of understanding about the triggers of workplace violence. Issues can start small but intensify quickly into violence. That’s why it’s so important to have in place security protocols that address employment termination.”

Preventing Violence at Work

So what can organizations do to minimize their chances of workplace violence?

  • Use background checks, performance records, and psychological evaluations to assess whether employees represent any risk of violence
  • Ensure that company IDs and badges are returned.
  • Restrict access to vehicles during shifts.
  • Restrict firearms from company property or facility grounds.
  • Employ well-trained security officers.
  • Evaluate the need for an armed security presence.
  • Monitor parking lots with security personnel, cameras, access controls, etc.
  • Develop an active shooter plan with law enforcement for emergency situations.
  • Train employees and supervisors to recognize indicators of workplace violence and how to respond in such circumstances.

Sunstates Security offers a variety of services to help businesses of every size increase their level of security, from presentations to consultations to full security plans, complete with personnel. Please contact your Sunstates Security representative for more information.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, “National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2010 (Preliminary results),” (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010),

Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Occupational Homicides by Selected Characteristics” (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011), 198,

Bureau of Labor Statistics, “National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2010 (Preliminary results),” (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010),

Mohr, Elizabeth, Sarah Horner and Joseph Lindberg, Twin Cities Pioneer Press, “Minneapolis shooting scene showed signs of struggle, police say”, September 28, 2012 —

Magan, Christopher, Twin Cities Pioneer Press,“Minneapolis workplace shooting the deadliest of its kind in Minnesota”, September 28, 2012 –

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Written by Sunstates Security

December 10th, 2012 at 9:28 pm