‘Funny, honest, genuine’: Friends fondly remember victim of apparent murder-suicide in Chanhassen

Friends fondly remember victim of apparent murder-suicide in Chanhassen

Friends fondly remember victim of apparent murder-suicide in Chanhassen

Even while mourning his death, Nick Johannes struggled to say his friend Erik Berger’s name without a smile.

In an interview on his front porch on Monday, Johannes considered himself fortunate to call him a close, longtime friend.

“If you knew Erik Berger, there’s only one way you can remember him. And it’s just the nicest, most genuine, hard-working, intelligent person,” Johannes said.

“He has so many close friends.”

Johannes said they met over an argument about his BMW on Facebook.

“He thought the car was too nice to turn to a race car. That was the crux of the thing,” he laughed. “I don’t think I’ve ever told him that he’s right.”

According to countless social media posts, Berger loved cars the same way he loved people — with ample care and many opinions.

“Nick says, ‘Hey, I got this friend, Erik. You gotta meet him,'” recalled Matt Peterson, another close friend. “And, of course we hit it off because it seemed like everybody hit it off when they met Erik.”

Peterson’s grief was visible as he remembered finding out about his friend’s death.

“It goes through waves,” he said. “He’s just a great guy. And none of us, none of us expected to lose him.”

The Carver County Sheriff’s Office confirmed deputies are investigating Berger’s death as a homicide and that it was a violent assault during which Berger was shot and stabbed with a knife.

Authorities say Berger’s parents found him lying on the floor in the garage area on Friday afternoon, called 911 and started CPR. However, he died at the scene.

RELATED: Authorities conducting death investigation in Chanhassen

The person of interest, who was later found dead in Minneapolis, has not officially been identified. An updated press release from the sheriff’s office on Monday afternoon confirmed he died from what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The Medical Examiner has not released an official cause of death as of this report.

While the investigation remains active, the sheriff’s office confirmed on Monday that Berger and the person of interest knew each other and there isn’t any further danger to the public.

Peterson and Johannes said the two knew each other from the car community and that it’s “inconceivable” that this would happen to Berger.

“I can’t imagine anyone would want to hurt him,” Johannes added. “Berger’s probably one of the kindest, most generous, most honest people I’ve ever met.”

“Funny, brutally honest, and genuine,” Peterson echoed of the man now remembered for cars and connections, and for packing a lot of life into 33 years.

“I mean, you never get to tell anybody how much they mean to you. And maybe you can, and that’s a lesson,” Johannes said.