Deputy shoots suspect in Vero Beach domestic dispute, sheriff's office says

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY, Fla.  -- A suspect in a domestic dispute was shot three times by a deputy in Indian River County Monday night, according to the Indian River County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies say 26-year-old Christopher Berk got into a physical fight, punching his wife and mother-in-law in the face at their home on the 400 block of 20th place southwest around 10:55 p.m.

The sheriff's office said Berk was gone when deputies arrived to investigate, but that he returned several minutes later with a shotgun.

The sheriff's office said the deputy was in the driveway of the residence interviewing witnesses when Berk approached with the weapon.

He was ordered to put the gun down but went behind a vehicle instead and pointed the shotgun at the deputy and bystanders, according to the sheriff's office. At that point the deputy fired six times, striking Berk three times.

No one else was injured.

Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar said Berk was threat to his wife, mother-in-law, a child who was inside the house, along with his deputy.

"Absent the deputy being there in quick time -- and I repeat, in three minutes the deputy was on the scene -- in seven minutes, Mister Berk showed up, on foot, had staged his automobile a few blocks away, and was coming to that house with a shotgun, with bags of ammunition," sheriff Loar said.

Berk was struck in the leg, arm and abdomen. He was taken to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center, but his condition was not released.

"The very disturbing thing is that he approached that residence with a green and white Indian River County deputy sheriff's car in the driveway, and that is very disturbing," sheriff Loar said.

The sheriff said charges against Berk are still being determined, but attempted murder will likely be among them.

"I will tell you the undercurrent is the domestic violence issue which, last year alone, we had nearly 200 domestic violence calls in the calendar year. And, it is our feeling, that our deputy not only did an outstanding job, but he saved the lives of those three members that were in that house," the sheriff said.

NewsChannel 5's Jamel Lanee and Alex Sanz contributed to this report.

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