A 61-year-old man has mistakenly shot dead his son-in-law who jumped out of the bushes to surprise him on his birthday.
A Florida man, Richard Dennis, shot dead his son-in-law Christopher Bergan, 37, who flew in from Norway to surprise him at his home on his birthday. This happened outside his house in Pensacola on Tuesday night in what police described as a ‘horrible accident’.
According to DailyMail, Dennis will not face charges for the incident, Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson announced at a Thursday news conference.
Johnson said Bergan, who is married to Dennis’ daughter and has a son, and lives in Norway, arrived at a Florida airport on Tuesday evening and went straight to his father-in-law’s home.
Dennis, who was unaware of Bergan’s arrival, heard someone banging on his backdoor at around 11.30pm.
He turned on the porch light before Bergan leapt ‘out of the shadows’, making a growling sound as he emerged from a bush.
Startled by the ambush, Dennis fired one shot that struck Bergan in the chest, killing him instantly.
Johnson noted that earlier in the night another one of Dennis’ relatives had come to his home and banged on the front door in a similar manner. The pair got in a verbal altercation before the relative left at about 9.30pm. The sheriff said no charges were warranted in the shooting, adding that it ‘never should have happened’.
‘Anybody who is religious out there, you need to pray for this family,’ Johnson said.
‘I can’t imagine what they’re going through… it’s horrible.’
Bergan was married to Dennis’ daughter, and had lived in Florida before they moved to his native Norway.