Sept. 27, 2012, is a day that ended in tragedy after Andrew Engeldinger — who had just lost his job at Accent Signage — killed five people before turning the gun on himself.
"Well clearly what happened at Accent Signage was tragic," said Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-Golden Valley.
Latz says there was a failure somewhere along the line to recognize the signs of mental illness. Now, it's time for state lawmakers to intervene.
"This is not the first time that we've had issues at the intersection of mental illness and guns," he said. "And I think it's a line we should explore further so that we can, whenever possible, intervene and prevent this kind of situation from developing."
Latz is calling for informational hearings on how law enforcement and other authorities can get better information on people with signs of mental illness, but he admits that privacy concerns could be an issue.
"There are laws about privacy of medical records, and mental health is a medical issue," he added. "But there are times when the mental health becomes a public concern."
Meanwhile in downtown St. Paul, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry has been busy fielding questions about workplace safety.
"Oh definitely," said Vikki Sanders, the Minnesota Workplace Violence Coordinator. "In the past, I think the attitude has been, 'it can't happen to us.'"
It's Sanders' job to teach employers how to prevent workplace violence.
"Now, the chances of something escalating to the height of homicide is rare," she admitted. "So most times you should prepare for more the lower level violence: the disrespect, psychological violence or bullying in the workplace."
Sanders admits there's not a one–size–fits all approach for businesses, but there is a common denominator that everyone should follow.
"The common denominator is to put a workplace violence prevention plan in place," she said. "It's not required for all businesses to do it, except for schools at this particular time, but it's moving toward that."
Meantime, any legislative hearing on the issue wouldn't take place until either January or February, but the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry is hosting a free, roundtable discussion on workplace violence in St. Paul on Thursday, November 1 from 1 to 4 p.m.
For more information, you can go to the Minnesota Department of Labor website.
Delane Cleveland, reporting
October 10, 2012