Family: Minneapolis gunman suffered mental illness

By the Associated Press | September 28, 2012 | 5:34 PM EDT

This July 2012 photo shows Andrew Engeldinger working at Accent Signage in Minneapolis. Late Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012, police searched a house in south Minneapolis where the suspected gunman in a deadly shooting at Accent had lived but found “nothing that we know of,” police said. Property records identify the homeowner as Andrew Engeldinger, whose uncle said he had died in the shooting. Engeldinger, 36, had been an Accent employee, and his father was told by the medical examiner that he was dead, the uncle, Joe Engeldinger, said. Police refused to say whether or not Andrew Engeldinger was the shooter. (AP Photo/Finance and Commerce, Bill Klotz) MANDATORY CREDIT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The family of the man who killed four people at a Minneapolis sign company says he struggled for years with mental illness.

Police said Friday that Andrew J. Engeldinger of Minneapolis opened fire at Accent Signage Systems just hours after being let go from the company Thursday morning.

His family says in a statement released through the National Alliance on Mental Illness that they aren't trying to excuse Engeldinger's actions, but perhaps partially explain them.

Alliance director Sue Abderholden says the family had approached the group for help about two years ago. That's about when Engeldinger's uncle says his nephew broke off contact with his family.

Abderholden says Engeldinger's parents took a class on understanding and dealing with mental illness. But she says they couldn't convince Engeldinger to seek help.