Car community, friends mourn car collector killed in Chanhassen

Friends say Erik Berger was a fixture on Minnesota’s car scene, because he was always ready to fix your problems or lighten the mood at Chanhassen’s Autoplex vehicle storage facility. But this weekend, many in the local auto community are heartbroken, after learning of Berger’s death.

"It’s inexcusable to take someone away," TJ Beadle said. "I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around it, as is everybody right now."

The Carver County Sheriff says on Friday afternoon law enforcement found a 33-year-old St. Paul man lying on the floor of a garage.

READ MORE: Authorities investigating after man found dead in Chanhassen

The man was discovered by his parents, who called 911 and started CPR, after what police called a violent assault.

Ultimately, the victim was pronounced dead at the scene, and while the Midwest Medical Examiner has yet to release his name, his friends are identifying him.

Authorities say a person of interest in Berger’s death was identified but later found dead at a home in Minneapolis. Many in the community are familiar with both the victim and the person of interest, and their relationship, in what’s best described as a domestic incident.

"This is such a huge impact to the car community, his friends, and more importantly, his family," Beadle said. "To have that news come like that just completely out of left field [was] a complete shock to the system… it completely broke my heart."

Another friend of Berger’s, Tyler Christopherson, wrote, "Erik never deserved this. He didn’t choose to end his life. A monster made that choice for him. My deepest condolences to the Berger family; I’m so sorry for your loss. He was a staple at my car shows and events for 15+ years. His passion for cars and this close-knit community was palpable. He will be greatly missed."

Authorities are currently investigating the incident.