MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Wisconsin man was stabbed to death after he and his fishing buddy got into an argument with another group.
Tonight, the Polk County Sheriff’s office is asking for the public’s help in finding the killer. The victim is 34-year-old Peter Kelly of St. Croix Falls, Wis. He was a well-known youth wrestling coach in the community and the father of five young children.
Deputies say Kelly and a friend were fishing on the Minnesota side of the St. Croix River last night when they got into a verbal fight with three men on the Wisconsin side.
The Polk County Sheriff’s office said this was a situation that went on for about three hours.
It started around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, when Kelly and his friend observed a group of young men fishing across the river being loud and rude.
By 9:45 p.m., their efforts to get them to quiet down had turned into a face-to-face confrontation at Interstate Park in St. Croix Falls. That’s where the fatal stabbing took place. The St. Croix River is known for being a great place to fish… when it’s quiet.
Captain Steve Smith with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in Wisconsin shared some of the details.
“The group on the Wisconsin side, the conduct was inappropriate. The group on the Minnesota side was making statements like, ‘Why don’t you clean up your act. The challenge was made – ‘why don’t you come over here,'” Captain Smith said.
Investigators said Kelly and his fishing buddy drove to the Wisconsin side and the verbal confrontation escalated. One of the men pulled out a knife and stabbed Kelly. He died at the scene.
Mike Kelly is Peter’s brother. He drove from his home in Illinois to the crime scene Wednesday.
“Some 18, 19, 20-year-old guys and one of them stabs him? It doesn’t make sense,” he said.
Kelly’s brother said Pete’s friend told him the young men on the other side were being loud and rowdy.
“There were some arguments. They were smoking some pot, swearing, acting silly. My brother’s a guy who’s like respect the thing or get out of here. The next thing you know he was stabbed right in the heart ,” Mike said.
Pete Kelly had a wife and four sons, and last year they added a fifth child to the family, a baby girl. Investigators are hopeful that witnesses will come forward.
“They could very much be of assistance to us if they were to come forward and identify the person responsible for taking the life of the victim,” Captain Smith said.
“Turn them in. Let us know. They need to be held accountable. You just killed a man, a good man. He has a family,” Mike Kelly said.
The Polk County Sheriff’s office has some leads in identifying the three young men involved in the attack. There were two vehicles involved. The first, is a blue Chevy S-10 pick-up truck with a cover over the bed.
The guy in that truck also had a dog named Gunnar that was a golden retriever or a yellow lab. The other two men were in a small to midsize car.
It’s interesting how easily sound travels across water. They were on different sides of the St. Croix and could hear each other.
Captain Smith said it’s very common for groups to be able to hear one another across the river and even complain about it. He explained how there’s nothing to break up the path of the sound waves on the water, so you can hear people talking and what they’re saying.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to accept donations for the Kelly family. (http://www.gofundme.com/s7y8rg4
Authorities are also looking for five people in two separate cars that were not involved in the incident, but were in the area when it happened. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at 715-485-8300.