Neighbors describe with Sacramento County Sheriff's deputies as an extremely private individual, often prone to verbal confrontation with strangers loitering outside his gated home.
The clandestine man, now identified by Sacramento County Coroner's Office as Michael Craig Berger, often shied away from the kids and adults that frequently walked the neighborhood streets, said John Miesen, Berger's neighbor since 1994. When he did approach neighbors, it was usually to shoe them from veering too close to his home, Miesen said.
"There were two ways with Mike," Miesen said. "It was Mike's way or the wrong way."
Miesen explained if Berger didn't know a person, he wasn't likely to go out of his way to be a nice guy. In many, ways even Miesen wasn't sure if Berger liked him.
"At first he was hostile," Miesen said. "Then after four or five years, I'd go up there and talk to Mike and he was friendly."
"I don't know what the hell he did that they had this warrant or what he got so upset about that he had to bring a gun out."
Sheriff's spokesman Jason Ramos explained units arrived at Berger's home around 11:30 a.m. to issue the warrant for a felony charge of what is technically characterized as making terrorist threats. In Berger's particular case it's, "threats to commit a crime resulting in bodily injury," Ramos said. Ramos could not elaborate on when the warrant was issued or the particular reason for the warrant.
The incident unfolded around 12:00 p.m., when members of the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau arrived at Berger's residence in the 4800 block of Vir Mar Street. Upon arriving at the home, deputies were informed Berger was inside. Despite announcing their presence and directing the suspect to come to the door, Berger remained inside the home and refused to come out.
According to a release, the deputies entered Berger's residence in an effort to serve the arrest warrant. They proceeded through the home and observed the suspect in a bedroom holding a handgun and pointing it in their direction. At that point the deputies backed out of the residence and called for additional officers to respond to the scene.
Over the course of about four hours deputies attempted to communicate with Berger, asking him to come out of the home. According to the release, efforts were made to convince the suspect to surrender peacefully, yet he remained steadfast in his intent to remain inside the home and repeatedly reaffirmed his desire to kill Sheriff’s deputies should the enter the home.
It was around 4 p.m. that Berger was observed exiting a door from inside the garage, brandishing what is being described as a long-barreled firearm toward deputies. According to the release, with an imminent threat to their safety, one of the deputies fired a single shot at the suspect, who then retreated out of sight and back into the home.
Sometime later, deputies deployed a remote-controlled robot to enter Berger's home, observe his condition. Via the robot's onboard camera, deputies were able to observe the suspect in a bedroom. He was unresponsive.
A team of deputies then entered the home along with a tactical medic. The suspect was determined to have sustained a gunshot wound to his upper body, and was pronounced dead.
"We had an officer-involved shooting that resulted in one fatality," Ramos said. "All indications are it was our shot that killed him and it was not self-inflicted."
In the immediate area where the suspect was located were several firearms and numerous rounds of ammunition, according to the release.
Did you know Michael Craig Berger? How would you describe the man? Those with information about him can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.