An Arizona businessman who owned shooting ranges reportedly fired two shots at his wife after threatening her during a verbal altercation, according to a Chandler Police Department report.
He then turned the gun on himself.
Police and paramedics responded to Boe Bergeson's home in Chandler on Saturday night after a report of a possible suicide. Bergeson was pronounced dead at 10:12 p.m., according to a police report.
He was a managing partner of Venn Construction, a Scottsdale-based construction firm, and the owner of C2 Tactical, a high-end shooting range with locations in Tempe and Phoenix.
According to the police report, Chandler officers responded to a possible suicide at Bergeson’s home on West Remington Drive around 10 p.m.
Bergeson’s wife Carolann described a verbal altercation with her husband that began when the family was out for dinner and drinks in Tempe, Officer David Hayes wrote. Bergeson “began to recite a list of 19-21 items that upset him regarding his relationship with Carolann,” the report says. Because the verbal argument escalated, the family decided to leave.
After arriving at their home, Carolann was upstairs getting their son ready for bed when Bergeson “re-engaged her in further argument.” She told the officer that Bergeson was intoxicated after having at least four drinks at dinner.
The argument continued in the kitchen, where Carolann told Bergeson she had contacted an attorney about seeking a potential divorce, according to the report.
“According to Carolann, Boe began to use his cell phone to record their conversation," the report states. "This angered Carolann to the point where she grabbed a liquor bottle off the kitchen counter and smashed the phone screen.”
Bergeson grabbed a 9 millimeter Sig Sauer handgun out of Carolann’s purse on the kitchen counter, she told the officer, and threatened her.
“Carolann said she asked Boe if he was really going to shoot her. As she stood in an area between the kitchen and dining room, Boe allegedly fired two shots at her from the walkway behind the kitchen island at the edge of the living room,” the report states. “The rounds did not hit Carolann, instead striking two interior windows in the dining room and exiting to the outside.”
Bergeson then shot himself in the head, Carolann said. She attempted to check his pulse, called her mother, and then called 911, she told the officer. The only other person at home was their son, who did not witness the shooting, she said.
The report noted Carolann was crying and appeared to be in a state of disbelief. She told the officer that Boe had recently been under stress from managing his construction and shooting range companies and he was drinking more than usual. She had also stepped back from their businesses to attend school to become a paramedic, the report says.
Although they had verbal disagreements in the past, she said, their arguments had never escalated to this extent. She told the officer that she normally keeps a handgun in her purse when she is out in public in order to confront a potential threat.
“Boe knew the handgun was present in her purse, however she stated she usually does not keep it loaded,” according to the report. The officer noted that it’s unclear who loaded the gun.
Chandler Police Detective Seth Tyler declined to comment further, citing an ongoing investigation. The case remains open as robbery and homicide detectives investigate.
Maricopa County Superior Court records show that Carolann attempted to divorce her husband a little less than four years ago. In court filings, she alleged that Bergeson verbally abused her on a routine basis.
In April 2015, Carolann filed for divorce, and the court granted her petition for an order of protection against Bergeson in which she described her husband’s aggressive, verbally abusive behavior and excessive drinking. While pregnant, she left Bergeson twice because of his verbal abuse, Carolann wrote.
From 2009 to 2014, she played a major role running their shooting-range business, Carolann said in a court filing, but her husband's behavior made her fearful for herself and their son. The tension culminated in a humiliating public scene when Bergeson fired her from the business in November 2014, Carolann wrote. She reported that her husband “said if I tried to do anything about it he would do everything in his power to ruin me and take my son from me.”
The court ordered Bergeson to stay away from Carolann’s residence or the location of her paramedic academy. The protective order limited his contact with his wife to their attorneys, or through emails and texts to discuss their child.
In his response to the divorce action, Bergeson argued that his wife had "a history of anger and documented violence issues," and pointed to her 2011 arrest outside of a Chandler gas station.
In her motion for the order of protection, Carolann disclosed the arrest. She said she had punched her husband in the face in front of an officer after an argument about Bergeson’s excessive drinking. According to Carolann, the charge was dismissed “since my husband then felt guilty about what happened and didn’t want me to leave him or stop working at the business we own," she wrote.
Maricopa County court records show Carolann was charged with felony aggravated assault on a police officer after she reportedly kicked an officer in the leg when he was trying to reattach her handcuffs while under arrest for the gas-station assault on her husband.
Carolann accepted a deal in which she pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct and served less than one year of probation.
10 months after Carolann filed for divorce in 2015, however, the couple had apparently reconciled. She moved to dismiss the order of protection.
“The defendant has shown considerable progress in his behavior and mindset regarding the care of, and interaction with, the plaintiff," according to a court filing dismissing the protective order. "In addition, through the family law court, the defendant has completed an anger management course, and continues to attend family therapy/family counseling.”
The divorce proceedings stalled, and the court dismissed the case in June 2017.
In a statement to New Times, Venn Construction said, "The entire Venn Construction family mourns this loss. On behalf of the management team and employees, we extend our deepest sympathies to Boe’s family."
The company called Bergeson "a dynamic leader at Venn and in the community, who embodied the open, happy culture of Venn." His managing partner Nick Veldman will continue to oversee operations, the company said.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
“We have lost a dear friend with the passing of our friend and colleague, Boe Bergeson," Veldman said in the statement. "The company has suffered a major loss. We are confident that the team will continue the vision that Boe had set, and continue to serve clients and the community in the spirit of quality and responsiveness.”
Bergeson operated two shooting ranges, one in Tempe which opened in 2013 and another near the Loop 101 in north Phoenix which opened last year. C2 Tactical advertises firearm rentals, training courses, live shooting at simulated video targets, and corporate events at an expansive indoor range. Bergeson also owned another indoor shooting range, Caswells, located in Mesa, the Phoenix Business Journal reported in 2012.
Requests for comment to Vincent Vasquez, a vice president of C2 Tactical, were not returned.
According to the Scottsdale Independent, when the second C2 Tactical range opened last May, Bergeson said in a release, “The vision for our new range, including the retail area, will be like no other shooting range throughout the country. We take great pride in creating a safe, inviting environment that welcomes all members of the community."