MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Prior Lake family is trying to understand how one punch changed their lives forever. The punch that killed Dave Taute this weekend at a resort on Lake Mille Lacs. He was there for the fishing opener.

Investigators said David Stay of Brooklyn Park is the one who punched Taute. He’s charged with manslaughter, but is out of jail on bail. They said they found him down the road after the fight, and that he smelled of alcohol but was coherent.

The punch happened around 1 a.m. Saturday at Nitti’s Hunters Point Resort. Taute and his fiancée are fishing opener regulars. But this time, before he could drop a line in the water, his life was cut short.

Friday night started with tradition. The couple played cribbage in their fish house and went to a late dinner at a local bar.

“We were having a great time, there was no — just…what?”  Cathie Kranz, Taute’s fiancée, said. “Evidently this guy came in was acting crazy and someone went in to get help and my Dave knew he was and just walked up to him, hands in his pocket and said, ‘What’s the problem?’ and he just hauled up and hit him and that was it, he went down.”

Kranz said the man she’s dated for five years was more of a lover than a fighter, hosting fishing trips with friends around the country, leaving her hidden love notes and loving his 19-year-old son — and her three kids too.

“You couldn’t be mad at Dave, there’s no way, he was just the nicest person,” Kranz said.

“Sucker punch, it’s not something you expect to kill somebody. It’s just senseless violence,” Cavin Kranz, Cathie’s son, said.

Deputies can’t make sense of it either, saying surveillance video shows Taute did not provoke the man who hit him.

Taute went by “Super Dave.” His friends say there wasn’t much he couldn’t do.

“Every weekend it was something, I had a story to tell. Something funny or great that happened with Dave, Super Dave,” Kranz said.

Now, she has another story to tell, one that may never be explained.

Kranz said the men were acquaintances, had seen each other around camp and casually knew one another.

WCCO reached out to the suspect and went to his home, but he did not answer. His record shows a conviction for DWI and one for assault in the ’90s.

Taute’s funeral is Friday.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

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