Fisherman, father of 5 fatally stabbed in border battle along St. Croix River

A literal border battle resulted in the fatal stabbing of a 34-year-old St. Croix Falls, Wis. father of five young kids on Tuesday night along the St. Croix River at Interstate Park.

The Polk County Sheriff's Department said an argument had ensued for several hours between two fishermen near the boat landing on the Minnesota side of the river and a group of 3 men on the Wisconsin side, until Peter S. Kelly was fatally stabbed around 9:45 p.m. Police are still looking for 3 men who fled shortly after the stabbing.

Kelly and his friend on the Minnesota side were arguing with the men on the Wisconsin side at about 6:30 p.m. Over the next several hours, "the verbal skirmish escalated" and the two left the Minnesota side of the park to confront the trio. A brief physical confrontation occurred, and Kelly was fatally stabbed. He died at the scene moments later and the trio quickly fled in two separate vehicles.

Beloved brother, father, coach

Mike Kelly is his brother, and as any loved one would be, he's devastated.

"It just wrecked our family. Everything's changed for the rest of our lives. His daughter will never really know him. His boys -- they're going to be without a father," he said.

Dan Clark, one of Kelly's lifelong friends shared a passion for wrestling. Kelly was a beloved coach in the area who treated many of his wrestlers like they were his own kids.

"He worked 10 to 12 hours a day at Andersen Windows, and he would come home and volunteer 4 hours a night to our wrestling program for 4 or 5 months a year," Clark said. "He was one of the greatest human beings that I ever hoped to meet."

Have you seen them?

Police are asking for the public's help in identifying them. All 3 are believed to be white men in their late teens or early twenties, one traveling in a blue Chevrolet S-10 pickup with a Tonneau-style cover over the bed. The other vehicle was vaguely described as a mid- to small-sized passenger car. Both had Minnesota plates. One of the men with a golden retriever or yellow lab named Gunnar fled in the pickup.

Police are also looking for five people traveling in two separate cars that were not involved, but were in the general area until about 7:30 p.m.

"These people may have been in a position to observe the verbal confrontation that occurred before the physical assault occurred," police said.

Anyone with information are asked to call the Polk County Sheriff's Department at 715-485-8300.

How to help the family

Kelly is married and is the father of five children all under the age of 9. A GoFundMe page has been created to help his wife, Christie, and their children Kellen, Payton, Miles, Auggie and Molly:
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