CHANHASSEN, Minn. — A family is in mourning after a deadly assault in Chanhassen.

Erik Berger of St. Paul, 33, is being remembered as a pillar of the Twin Cities car community.

“Huge smile, infectious laugh, extremely intelligent, very loyal to his friends,” said TJ Beadle, a friend.

The Carver County Sheriff’s Office says Berger’s parents found him inside the Chanhassen AutoPlex last week, a private garage complex for collectors to store and showcase cars.

Berger died on the scene. Deputies say he was shot and stabbed.

“I was not aware of any conflict, no,” Beadle said. “That’s why it was all the more shocking. [Erik] was a staple, very well-known, at the Chanhassen Autoplex. His passion was being around his vehicles.”

Erik Berger

TJ Beadle

Friends say Berger had a considerable car collection.

“He was more than happy to open it up and show people the type of things he owned and enjoyed,” said Steve Flaten, the Chanhassen AutoPlex board president. “Very heavy in the BMW community as well. Knew people across the country.”

Beadle says for a lot of people, Berger “was one of the first people that they would call if they needed help with a project or advice on something.”

The sheriff’s office says Berger knew the man suspected of killing him.

Deputies say that person was found dead in Minneapolis, apparently by suicide.

Friends of Berger’s are now left trying to understand how something like this could’ve happened.

“It’s a huge tragedy to have him taken away from all of us in this manner,” Beadle said. “Just not being able to realize his full potential. He was a bright spot in everybody’s life.”

Flaten says the man suspected of killing Berger was not a member of the AutoPlex.

David Schuman

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