Suspect Shot Dead by Police After Fire in Salem

The man shot by police outside a burning house in Salem has died, police said.

Robert Bergeson died after being shot by an officer outside 28 Witter Road Tuesday night. Police were called to the scene when firefighters responding to a house fire noticed that Bergeson, who was in the woods behind the house, appeared to be holding a weapon.

According to state police, when troopers tried to approach Bergeson, he acted irrationally and began to charge at them while waving a large, blunt object that resembled a club.

He refused to drop the object after police asked him to stop and was shot by one of the troopers, police said.

Bergeson was rushed to Backus Hospital in Norwich and then transferred to Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, where he was pronounced dead.

Salem firefighters responded to the home around 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Upon arrival, fire crews found the house and a detached garage on fire.

A number of cars blocked the driveway leading up to the home, preventing firefighters from getting there quickly, according to state police. Firefighters said the cars appeared to be set up as a barricade, and were concerned the house would be booby trapped.

The State Police Major Crimes Division is investigating the incident.

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