Fla man mistakenly shoots son-in-law who flew in from Norway, hid in bushes as birthday surprise

A Norwegian man ended up dead when an attempt to surprise his American father-in-law went tragically wrong.

Christopher Bergan arrived in Florida from Norway on Tuesday night and headed to his father-in-law’s house with plans to surprise him for his birthday. Bergan arrived at Richard Dennis’ Pensacola home at 11:00 pm according to Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson.

Bergan reportedly banged on the door then “hid in the bushes” before he jumped out and made a “growling sound” when Dennis opened the door.

Dennis reacted immediately and instantly killed Bergan with one shot to the chest with a handgun.

Johnson said Dennis will not face charges for accidentally killing his son-in-law. Johnson explained that Dennis was already on edge after he had a heated confrontation earlier that evening when another relative had shown up at his door in much the same manner.

“He was totally startled,” Johnson said. “He just had a confrontation at the front of his house. A couple of hours later somebody’s banging on his back door … and then somebody jumps out of the bushes,” Johnson said. “You can’t say anything against Mr. Dennis for doing what he did.”

WATCH LIVE: Details on deadly Coronoado Court shooting revealed. http://bit.ly/352h1jR

WATCH LIVE: Details on deadly Coronoado Court shooting revealed. http://bit.ly/352h1jR

Posted by WEAR ABC 3 News, Pensacola on Thursday, October 3, 2019

Johnson said the family is in need of prayers after the horrific event.

“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 shot when he reportedly frightened Dennis by hiding in the bushes to surprise him for his birthday.

Bergan married Dennis’ daughter and lived in Florida before the couple moved to his native Norway, The Daily Mail reported. While friends of the family appear forgiving of Dennis, many blamed America’s “gun culture” for the tragic accident.

“My childhood buddy, Chris Bergan, was killed accidentally by a family member. He had no idea he was shooting his son-in-law. I’m convinced gun culture has everything to do with this tragedy,” a friend wrote on Facebook according to the Daily Mail.

The freedom Americans enjoy often becomes the scapegoat when tragedy strikes. Government-centric, socialist counties like Norway don’t allow its citizens to protect themselves. And that’s exactly what Dennis was trying to do.

With a string of Republican leadership, and Governor Ron DeSantis currently at the helm, Floridians have been able to exercise their God-given rights as the nation’s Founders intended.

In February, state senate committee members voted down a proposed assault weapons ban that was launched in response to school shootings.

Not only did Florida Republicans reject the ban, but they wrote a provision that would allow teachers to carry firearms on campus.

In May 2019, DeSantis unapologetically signed the measure into law.

If the horrific tragedy that struck Bergan had taken place in a Democrat-run, gun-controlled state, Dennis’ fate may have been in peril.

Meanwhile, the “assault weapons” ban is still in play. The NRA sent an alert to Floridians that the constitutional amendment will be on the 2020 election ballot.

More from the NRA:

The fact is, any rifle or shotgun that is “capable” of accepting or using, a detachable magazine that holds 10 rounds or less is also “capable” of accepting a magazine or magazine extension of any size. Magazines with a capacity of 3 all the way up to 100 rounds are in common use throughout the United States.

Therefore, ALL semiautomatic rifles and shotguns “capable” of using a detachable magazine or fixed magazine would be banned. UNLESS YOU REGISTER THEM WITH THE GOVERNMENT within a year …


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