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A man who traveled from Norway to Florida to surprise his father-in-law was accidentally shot dead

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macoman    2,586

(CNN)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, striking 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.

 

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/04/us/florida-man-shoots-kills-son-in-law-birthday-trnd/index.html

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macoman    2,586
Posted (edited)

I don't want to sound like an ass**** but this should win a Darwin award for been so stupid the guy from Norway.

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+warwagon    13,203

SURPRISE ********* <--- Quote from Dexter.

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+suprNOVA    177

Man...the US is ######ed up. It's insane how the initial reaction is to use lethal force. HAPPY BIRTH - BANG BANG. Majority of these guys are simply brainwashed by the fear-mongering NRA who train people to think that EVERY and ANY situation can potentially lead to death. Guy reaches for a candy in his pocket, BANG BANG.

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macoman    2,586
14 minutes ago, suprNOVA said:

Man...the US is ######ed up. It's insane how the initial reaction is to use lethal force. HAPPY BIRTH - BANG BANG. Majority of these guys are simply brainwashed by the fear-mongering NRA who train people to think that EVERY and ANY situation can potentially lead to death. Guy reaches for a candy in his pocket, BANG BANG.

The culture of the right is gun ownership and stand your ground... common sense does not apply here.

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DocM    16,615
8 hours ago, macoman said:

The culture of the right is gun ownership and stand your ground... common sense does not apply here.

 

Totally missing the point that violent home invasions by two-legged predators are a very real problem, often starting with banging on the door, and they tend to go after the small, weak, elderly and disabled.  

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adrynalyne    12,397
Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, macoman said:

The culture of the right is gun ownership and stand your ground... common sense does not apply here.

Please. 🙄

Not only am I *not* a republican, but I am a gun owner and believe in stand your ground. Both of which require common sense for responsible people. You clearly don’t even understand what stand your ground is. 
 

If you don’t know what you are talking about, you would be best off avoiding typing something to make you look ignorant and instead just learn about the subject first. 
 

That said, the Sheriff is a damn moron. Charged absolutely are warranted. Accident or not, that is not a legal shooting. Stand your ground doesn’t mean you can kill someone for scaring you. 

Edited by adrynalyne
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DocM    16,615
13 hours ago, adrynalyne said:

>

That said, the Sheriff is a damn moron. Charged absolutely are warranted. Accident or not, that is not a legal shooting. Stand your ground doesn’t mean you can kill someone for scaring you. 

 

The Sheriff doesn't make the charging decision, the City or (usually) County prosecutor does. He can opine, or take him in for questioning or even a short hold, but he doesn't make the final decision.

 

Here in MI we have a quite strong Stand Your Ground (defense in the public square) and Castle Doctrine (defense in the home) laws.

 

Castle Doctrine applies in the home, but very rarely does it allow you shoot through a door that hasn't been breached.

 

The charging decision here is going to hinge on two things,

 

1) this happening outside the home, which is where Stand Your Ground holds sway. 

 

2) from the report,

 



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.

 

Florida's Stand Your Ground law says deadly force is allowed,

 

"if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another..." 

 

Basically, could a "reasonable man," who is already anxious because of the earlier incident, be in reasonable fear of harm if someone jumps at them from out of the shadows?

 

I may not have drawn and fired in one motion, but I'd sure as hell be  moving my hand to the holster just in case. 

 

Maybe negligent manslaughter.

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+trag3dy    4,109
On 10/4/2019 at 12:31 PM, suprNOVA said:

Man...the US is ######ed up. It's insane how the initial reaction is to use lethal force. HAPPY BIRTH - BANG BANG. Majority of these guys are simply brainwashed by the fear-mongering NRA who train people to think that EVERY and ANY situation can potentially lead to death. Guy reaches for a candy in his pocket, BANG BANG.

The difference between people who are okay being victims and those that are not.

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+Human.Online    8,603
On 10/5/2019 at 5:26 AM, adrynalyne said:

require common sense for responsible people

Mate, you've just summed up the hole in American gun laws in one sentence.

 

That being, they are based upon the above assumptions, which may well hold true for 99% of legal gun owners.

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He's Dead Jim    1,982

America should be renamed "Gunland"

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Nick H.    9,990

Considering there's something of a worldwide perception of Americans being crazy about guns, you'd have to be pretty foolish to go to the country to surprise someone like that.

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adrynalyne    12,397
On 10/8/2019 at 5:43 AM, He's Dead Jim said:

America should be renamed "Gunland"

Kay. 

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+warwagon    13,203

let me be the devils advocate here for a second. The guy from Norway JUMPS out of the shadow to surprise and startle a guy he's never met, that is NOT normal behavior. You don't jump out and surprise someone who you have never met before let alone to someone you have met before. Let's pretend, it wasn't the husband but some deranged criminal looking to stab him. Man runs at him from the shadow , how long does this man have to react?

 

I'm sorry, but don't just the **** out of the shadow at someone if you don't want to be potentially shot.

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+trag3dy    4,109
Just now, warwagon said:

let me be the devils advocate here for a second. The guy from Norway JUMPS out of the bush ... SURPRISE!!! First off, that is NOT normal behavior. You don't jump out of the pushes at someone who you have never met before let alone to someone you have met before. Let's pretend, it wasn't the husband but some deranged criminal looking to stab him. Man walks by the bushes, man jumps out of bushes, how long does this man have to react?

 

I'm sorry, but don't just the **** out of the bushes at someone if you don't want to be potentially shot.

Those bushes also happened to be in the home owners backyard. So there is that, as well. This, also after he was banging on their back door.

 

Even if we take the guns out of the picture the least I would expect if I did something like that would be to have the police called on me.

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adrynalyne    12,397
Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, warwagon said:

let me be the devils advocate here for a second. The guy from Norway JUMPS out of the bush to surprise and startle a guy he's never met, that is NOT normal behavior. You don't jump out of the pushes at someone who you have never met before let alone to someone you have met before. Let's pretend, it wasn't the husband but some deranged criminal looking to stab him. Man walks by the bushes, man jumps out of bushes, how long does this man have to react?

 

I'm sorry, but don't just the **** out of the bushes at someone if you don't want to be potentially shot.

That’s bullcrap. Let me make a more sane comment. I’m sorry, you don’t just shoot someone because you were startled. It is clear he shot out of panic, else he would have seen who he was shooting. 
 

There is no justification here. If you see justification, lord help us all of you are a gun owner. 

3 minutes ago, trag3dy said:

Those bushes also happened to be in the home owners backyard. So there is that, as well. This, also after he was banging on their back door.

 

Even if we take the guns out of the picture the least I would expect if I did something like that would be to have the police called on me.

At least in the state I live, you cannot legally shoot someone for trespassing unless the intent is to harm you. Even then, you will likely be defending yourself in court because that has to be proven.  

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+trag3dy    4,109
5 minutes ago, adrynalyne said:

That’s bullcrap. Let me make a more sane comment. I’m sorry, you don’t just

shoot someone because you were startled. 
 

There is no justification here. If you see justification, lord help us all of you are a gun owner. 

At least in the state I live, you cannot legally shoot someone for trespassing unless the intent is to harm you. Even then, you will likely be defending yourself in court because that has to be proven.  

Given that he supposedly had people banging on his door earlier in the day I would say, at the very least, that it is entirely plausible to be very on edge and even afraid for his life and then to also have someone banging at your back door that same night and then be surprised from some bushes?

 

Whatever the case, it's a really unfortunate series of events.

 

edit: words are hard

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Buttus    1,211
5 minutes ago, adrynalyne said:

That’s bullcrap. Let me make a more sane comment. I’m sorry, you don’t just

shoot someone because you were startled. 
 

There is no justification here. If you see justification, lord help us all of you are a gun owner. 

so do you wait until they attack you before you shoot?

 

the big question to me is, how far away was he when he jumped out of the bushes?  2 or 3 feet or 15 feet?   if it was 2 or 3 feet, i'm not giving them the chance to attack first.

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adrynalyne    12,397
Just now, trag3dy said:

Given that he supposedly had people banging on his door earlier in the day I would, at the very least, that it is entirely plausible to be very on edge to then also have someone banging at your back door that same night and then surprise you from the bushes.

 

Whatever the case, it's a really unfortunate series of events.

Banging on doors isn’t a death sentence either. I do agree, it’s unfortunate. I just also tend to feel charges should have been filed. There needs to be repercussions for poor decision making involving firearms. 

Just now, Buttus said:

so do you wait until they attack you before you shoot?

 

the big question to me is, how far away was he when he jumped out of the bushes?  2 or 3 feet or 15 feet?   if it was 2 or 3 feet, i'm not giving them the chance to attack first.

Two words. 
 

Situational awareness. If you don’t have it or know what it entails, you are not qualified to have a firearm. 

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+trag3dy    4,109
Just now, adrynalyne said:

Banging on doors isn’t a death sentence either. I do agree, it’s unfortunate. I just also tend to feel charges should have been filed. There needs to be repercussions for poor decision making involving firearms. 

Eh. The guy is gonna have to live with it for the rest of his life. He'll likely be shunned by the rest of his family too. His life is probably over, either way.

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techbeck    6,928
Posted (edited)

The man should have notified his father in law after he was scared off earlier.  Instead, he came to the back door and tried it again.  Sucks this happened, and I am sure the FIL feels bad, but the FIL did not know of the intruders intentions.  And yes, he was an intruder since he did not know who the person was at the time of the shooting.

 

And thinking this is the norm for the US or and brainwashing is involved is just insane.

 

Also, curious where the FIL lives and if it was a high crime area or something like this happened to him before.

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techbeck    6,928

Stand your ground also totally applies here.  He scared someone off his property earlier.  So he was already on edge and then it happened again few hours later while it was dark outside.  So the FIL probably thought it was a threat.  Normally when it is someone you know coming to your house unannounced, they come to the front door, not the back door.

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adrynalyne    12,397
Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, techbeck said:

Stand your ground also totally applies here.  He scared someone off his property earlier.  So he was already on edge and then it happened again few hours later while it was dark outside.  So the FIL probably thought it was a threat.  Normally when it is someone you know coming to your house unannounced, they come to the front door, not the back door.

Please show me where in the statute that shows stand your ground applies here with DEADLY force. 
 

Only 1b authorizes deadly force. Which goes back to what I said earlier—charges should have been filed and this should have gone to court to be proven a legal shooting. 
http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0776/Sections/0776.013.html

Edited by adrynalyne

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Nick H.    9,990
1 minute ago, adrynalyne said:

Please show me the statute that shows stand your ground applies here. 

I can't believe I'm writing this, but I agree with the others on this situation. As I mentioned earlier, with a penchant to own a gun in a country where you are allowed why would it not be the first thing you go for if you feel in danger? I'd probably go for a baseball bat myself but have the gun close-by if I owned one. The fault was the son-in-law's. He knew where he was flying to, he knew the risks of gun ownership and he should have realized that the combination of his actions was going to have dangerous consequences.

The father-in-law will blame himself for what happened and he will have to live with it for the rest of his life. But from the information in the article I feel sorry for him.

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+Human.Online    8,603

I'm not a gun owner

I'm not really a gun defender

I personally believe there are some major flaws in America's gun system that need addressing

I personally believe there are some major flaws in America's gun culture that need addressing

 

BUT

 

This guy had his cage rattled once.

Then it happened again.

Then a guy jumped out of the bushes at him on his property.

 

Anyone would react.  Your reaction may differ from mine.  Mine would certainly involve a weapon (I carry a baseball bat when needed because hey it's the UK, what you gonna do).  People's reactions and weapons differ from place to place and culture to culture.

 

Did he physically react out of panic?  Quite probably.  But that's a valid reaction!

 

Sorry, I have sympathy for the shooter, not the guy who jumped out of the bushes.

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