Accent Signage Shooting Victim: Expand Background Checks

Updated: 03/28/2013 2:16 PM KSTP.com By: Kate Renner

A rally today in Minnetonka is among more than 100 taking place in 29 states. It calls for national legislation to approve expanded background checks and is hoping to draw attention from lawmakers.

For the first time we heard from the only wounded survivor of the Accent Signage mass shooting, Dr. John Souter.

Souter was visibly shaken and emotional when talking about the mass shooting inside his workplace in September where he lost five of his co-workers and the UPS driver was killed.

Dr. Souter has lived through a nightmare. He spoke today of the heroic emergency responders who he credits with saving his life.

"It lives with them. When I discussed with police and firefighters, they were still shaken. I don't know how you have the courage to enter a building with bodies in front of you. They had no idea where the shooter was, they came in and they saved my life," said Dr. John Souter, an executive at Accent Signage.

Souter told us he's not the same person any more. The mass shooting at Accent Signage has had long last effects on him.

"It visits me every night. I was shot twice one through the lung, the same bullet crushed my ribs. I now have gaps in two ribs floating around, a lot of scar tissue, and the pain is still with me," said Souter.

He stood beside Mayor R.T. Rybak and Chaska Police Chief Scott Knight, calling for Congressional Representative Erik Paulsen to vote in favor of universal background checks. They say there should be no loopholes for private sellers at gun shows.

The shooter, Andrew Engeldinger had a gun legally. But according to Mayor Rybak there were issues of mental health and gun access that should have kept a gun out of Engeldinger hands.

We reached out to Rep. Paulsen, who responded with this statement: "I continue to meet with law enforcement leaders, mental health professionals, and others to find effective solutions to reduce gun violence, including fixing holes in the existing background check system."