Man shot, killed by Florida father-in-law during surprise birthday visit


Accident or crime scene cordon tape, police line do not cross. It is nighttime, emergency lights of police cars flashing blue, red and white in the background

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

GULF BREEZE, Fla. — A man who traveled from Norway to Florida to surprise his father-in-law for his birthday was mistakenly killed by him after he leapt out of the bushes and startled him.

Christopher Bergan, 37, arrived at the home of Richard Dennis, 61, on Tuesday evening and began banging on his front door.

Dennis, unsure who was outside, ran the person off, Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson said in a press conference.

But, just a few hours later at 11:30 p.m., the banging started again — this time at the back door, Johnson said.

Dennis turned on the back door light and stepped out.

That’s when 37-year-old son-in-law Bergan, fresh off a flight from his native Norway, jumped out of the shadows, scaring Dennis. He fired a shot, hitting Bergan in the heart and killing him instantly, Johnson said.

“Investigation has revealed that this was totally accidental,” Johnson said. “It was a really sad occurrence.”

No charges are warranted in this case, Johnson said.

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

Trademark and Copyright 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Must-See Stories

More Must-See Stories


Follow FOX8 on Twitter