Florida Man Fatally Shoots Son-In-Law During Surprise Birthday Visit

by : Charlie Cocksedge on : 07 Oct 2019 12:19
Florida Man Fatally Shoots Son-In-Law During Surprise Birthday VisitChris Bergan/Facebook

A man in Florida accidentally shot his son-in-law who jumped out and scared him during a surprise birthday visit.

37-year-old Christopher Bergan had flown from Norway to Florida last week to surprise his father-in-law Richard Dennis on his 62nd birthday.


However, according to authorities, poor timing and circumstances resulted in a ‘horrible accident’ at Dennis’s home in Florida.

You can see more about the fatal accident here:


Sadly, Bergan died on the scene before emergency services could reach him.


In a press conference, Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson said:

You can’t really say anything against Mr. Dennis for doing what he did. I think it was just a horrible accident that should never have happened.

Around two hours before the incident, Dennis had reportedly been arguing with another relative at his property who had apparently been banging on his front door during the altercation.

The relative eventually left. However, Bergan then reportedly delivered ‘the same type of banging’ on Dennis’s back door some time later, to surprise him for his birthday.

Florida Man Fatally Shoots Son-In-Law During Surprise Birthday PartyNBC News/YouTube

The 62-year-old answered the door while armed with a gun and was shocked by Bergan, who reportedly jumped out while making a noise to surprise Dennis. Bergan was shot in the chest and died instantly, HuffPost reports.

Bergan used to live in Florida, but had recently moved back to Norway with his wife, Dennis’s daughter.

Sheriff 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.

The tragic incident comes almost a month after a mother in Ohio accidentally shot her own daughter when her daughter tried to surprise her by returning home early from college.

You can see more about it here:



The 18-year-old had returned home from college with her boyfriend, and wanted to surprise her mum at her home. The unnamed mother, however, mistook the noises she heard for a home invasion.

As the daughter walked into her mum’s bedroom, the mother fired a single shot from a pistol, which hit her daughter’s elbow. It wasn’t until after this the mum realised who she had fired at.

At the time, Chief Norman of Girard Police told WFMJ:

If you realize someone has a gun for protection, and they’re not expecting you – announce yourself when you enter the home, or even if you’re getting up to get a drink of water in the middle of the night, just announce yourself.

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Charlie Cocksedge

Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist and sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.

Topics: News, Accident, Florida, party


Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office/Facebook and 2 others
  1. Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office/Facebook

    News Conference 10-3-19

  2. HuffPost

    Frightened Florida Man Fatally Shoots Son-In-Law During Birthday Surprise

  3. WFMJ

    Girard 18-year-old accidentally shot by mother after returning from college police say