Burnsville man pleads guilty to manslaughter in shooting death

Kyle Alan Dague

A 23-year-old Burnsville man pleaded guilty Oct. 2 in the shooting death of a 22-year-old Savage man last Dec. 31.

Kyle Alan Dague pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter in the death of Justin James Schauer, Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced.

A grand jury indicted Dague in July on one count each of second-degree manslaughter and reckless discharge of a firearm in a municipality.

Dague, who lived in an apartment on the 12700 block of Nicollet Avenue South, called 911 at around 2:40 a.m. Dec. 31 to report that Schauer had been shot. He was found dead at the scene, the victim of a single 9 mm gunshot to his forehead.

Dague indicated to Burnsville police that he and Schauer had each been playing a game with a handgun in which the holder would pull back the slide of the gun and catch the ejected bullet in the air with his free hand. Dague said when he wasn’t looking he heard the gun go off, and that Schauer must have shot himself.

Later test firings led the Dakota County medical examiner to conclude that the fatal shot had been fired from approximately 6 to 8 inches away. Through a DNA analysis, it was found that Dague’s DNA was the one dominant profile on the gun and that no DNA match was made to Schauer.

Police determined that Dague had purchased the handgun in April 2011.

Investigators questioned several witnesses who said that they had seen Dague on multiple occasions playing the game he described to police, in which he would pull back the slide of the weapon, eject a live bullet from the chamber, and catch the bullet in his free hand.

Two witnesses also told police that they had seen Dague on previous occasions point the handgun directly toward others, pull the trigger and dry fire the weapon without a bullet.