State to Pay Nearly $1 Million to Estate of Man Killed by Police in Salem: Lawyers

Robert Bergeson was recently divorced and was also recently convicted of assaulting his ex-wife, according to court records.

The state of Connecticut has agreed to pay $950,000 to the estate of a Salem man who was killed in a police shooting during a fire at his house in 2013, according to the law firm representing the estate.

Robert Bergeson, a 59-year-old retired Pfizer manager, was shot by a State Police trooper after acting in a threatening way when officials responded to the flames engulfing his garage and home, according to officials.

The Reardon Law Firm of New London released a statement on Wednesday, saying the settlement was finalized today and that the wrongful death case was scheduled to go to trial in federal court in January.  

Firefighters arrived at Bergeson's Witter Road home on the night of June 18, 2013 to find the house and detached garage engulfed in flames. 

Police said firefighters "discovered evidence to suggest that the fire may have been intentionally set" and proceeded with caution.

As firefighters fought the flames, Bergeson was shot and killed by state police.

Police have said the man was acting irrationally, charging them and waving a large blunt object that looked like a club.

A statement from the law firm representing the estate says Bergeson became emotionally distraught when his wife of 27 years divorced him.

She was awarded 60 percent of the Witter Road home and Bergeson alerted the fire department that he was going to burn the house down because he did not want his ex-wife to get the property, according to the statement from the Reardon Law Firm.

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