Father Accidentally Kills His Son-In-Law Who Was Trying to Surprise Him for His 61st Birthday

A 37-year-old man was shot and killed on October 1 by his father-in-law, who he was trying to surprise for his birthday.

According to ABC News, the victim, Christoper Bergan, had flown in from Norway to Pensacola, Florida on Tuesday night around 11 p.m.

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man shot killed father-in-law
Chris Bergan/Facebook

Bergan is married to Richard Dennis’ daughter. The couple lived in Florida before moving to Norway.

As Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson told the media in a press conference, after landing in Florida, Bergan arrived at Dennis’ home around 11:30 p.m.

That’s when Dennis heard banging on his back door. Not knowing Dennis was armed, when his father-in-law turned on the lights, Bergan allegedly “jumped out of the shadows” and made a growling noise in an attempt to surprise Dennis for his birthday.

man shot killed father-in-law
NBC News

As Sheriff Johnson explained, Dennis’, however, was frightened by the surprise. He reacted by pulling the trigger of the gun that he was holding. The one round fired from the man’s gun struck Bergan in the heart and killed him “instantly.”

As soon as Dennis realized just who he shot, the father-in-law immediately dialed 911. He and Bergan’s friend, who dropped him off at Dennis’ home, also began to administer first aid.

News Conference 10-3-19

Sheriff Johnson holds a news conference revealing details about a shooting investigation in Villa Venyce Subdivision in Gulf Breeze.

Posted by Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office FL on Thursday, October 3, 2019

Johnson said, “Anybody who is religious out there, you need to pray for this family. I can’t imagine what they’re going through… it’s horrible.”

Sergeant Rich Aloy called the series of unfortunate events a “perfect storm,” telling NBC News that they don’t “normally or typically see these kinds of events unfold.”

Dennis was celebrating his 61st birthday.

And that wasn’t the first time Dennis was scared that night in a similar way. As Johnson continued, another relative of Dennis’ reportedly rattled on his front door the same way Bergan did about two hours earlier.

However, that particular relative was not shot as a result.

Now, authorities are calling Bergan’s death a “horrible accident,” and because of that “no charges are warranted.” 

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