Husband arrested in St. Cloud fire clerk's death

By Susan Jacobson | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted September 5, 2003



HOLOPAW -- A retired firefighter was arrested on a murder charge Thursday night after he called 911 to say he had shot his wife with a 9mm handgun.

Beverlee Bergeron, 58, ran from the couple's mobile home after the 3:10 p.m. shooting and collapsed on a nearby street corner, neighbors said. Bergeron then apparently bled to death, authorities said.

Albert Bergeron, 71, was being held in the Osceola County Jail with no bail.

People heard the shot and saw Beverlee Bergeron, a billing clerk for the St. Cloud Fire Rescue Department, on the ground.

Neighbors said they tried to raise Bergeron's head, stop the bleeding with towels, a blanket and their bare hands, and perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Someone got a wet cloth and wiped her face as she struggled to breathe.

Bergeron was shot once in the upper left side of her chest near her shoulder.

Randy Burrows, 17, who lives with her family next door, said she rushed to Bergeron's side, past bloody footsteps. The neighborhood, about 15 miles east of St. Cloud, consists of dirt roads that were muddy from an afternoon storm, large rural lots and mobile homes.

"She said, 'Am I going to die?' " Randy recalled. " 'Please don't let me die.' It was awful."

Deputy Al DeArmas said that at the same time, Bergeron's husband, Albert, was inside the couple's home on the phone with the Sheriff's Office.

Randy said that as she ran by, Albert Bergeron called to her from the front porch and asked her to help his wife.

Details of the circumstances that led to the shooting were not available Thursday night.

St. Cloud fire Assistant Chief Bill Johnston said Bergeron worked her regular shift Thursday until about 3 p.m., minutes before the shooting.

Deputies said there was no record of domestic-violence calls to the Bergerons' home, and they knew of no motive. They said the shooting occurred somewhere inside the mobile home, where they found a handgun.

Albert Bergeron is a retired New England firefighter, Johnston said. Records show the couple previously lived in Framingham, Mass. Johnston said Beverlee Bergeron had worked for St. Cloud for about a decade. Neighbors said they thought the Bergerons each had grown children from previous marriages.

"She was absolutely fantastic, very sweet," Johnston said. "She was a very loyal employee, and we're going to miss her a lot."

Susan Jacobson can be reached at sjacobson@orlandosentinel.com or 407-931-5946.