What was supposed to be a happy occasion became a tragedy in Milton on Tuesday.
MILTON — Christopher Bergan flew from Norway and drove to Gulf Breeze to surprise his father-in-law, Richard Dennis, on his 61st birthday around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Bergan, who was 37, banged on the back door and then hid behind some bushes. When Dennis opened the door to his house at 1014 Coronado Court, Bergan jumped out and growled to surprise him. A spooked Dennis shot Bergan in the chest with a .380 semi-automatic and killed him on the spot.
“We determined there should be no charges filed in the tragic accident,” said Amber Rowland, assistant state attorney for Santa Rosa County.
Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson said the family continues to mourn the shooting death.
“We should pray for the family,” Johnson said. “It’s a really sad occurrence.”
Earlier in the evening, another Dennis relative came over and got into a verbal altercation with him.
When police arrived on the scene, Bergan was wrapped up in blood soaked towels to stop the bleeding to no avail, authorities said.
“I can’t say anything against Mr. Dennis for doing what he did,” Johnson said. “It was just a horrible accident. I never should have happened.”