After travelling all the way from Norway, 37-year-old Christopher Bergan wanted to surprise his father-in-law. Bergan hid in the bushes outside father-in-law Richard Dennis' Florida home. When Bergan jumped out to surprise Dennis, he was fatally shot by Dennis who mistook his son-in-law for an attacker.

Dennis, who turned 61, did not know that his son-in-law had flown from Norway to the United States for a surprise visit. The pleasant family reunion turned into a nightmare on the evening of October 1.

Earlier that evening, Dennis had a spat with an angry relative who had banged on his door around 9:30 pm. Dennis told the police that after the argument with the relative, he ran the person off of his property.

Hinge frame webley revolver
Metropolitan Police

At 11:30 pm Dennis was alerted by similar loud bangs on the back door of his house. Fearing a violent altercation, Dennis carried his .38 semi-automatic pistol with him for self-defense. Instead of a disgruntled relative, it was Bergan who jumped out of the bushes growling.

Bergan had wanted to surprise Dennis but ended up startling the elderly man who pulled the trigger firing a single shot. According to the Pensacola News Journal, the bullet lodged itself in Bergan's heart, fatally injuring him. By the time Dennis realised what had happened or who he had shot, Bergan was already dead.

Police reached the site and conducted a short investigation. Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson held a press conference on October 3 to announce the conclusion of the investigation. The police investigation concluded that Dennis had not intentionally shot his daughter's husband. Johnson concluded that the incident was a tragic accident. Johnson asked the community to pray for the Dennis family. The Sheriff affirmed that he had no doubts Dennis acted out of fear for his safety and not with an intent to injure anyone.

Confirming the police report, Assistant State Attorney Amber Rowland said that Dennis would not be facing any charges for his actions.