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Widow Pleads For Answers After Florida Man Gunned Down In Front Of Their 2-Year-Old
Police believe the murder of Jared Bridegan earlier this year was a "targeted" attack, as they found another car's spare tire in the middle of the road next to where his car stopped.
A widow is speaking out in hopes of finding the killer or killers who gunned down her husband in front of their 2-year-old child.
Jared Bridegan, 33, was shot to death near his SUV in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, on Feb. 16, as reported by News4Jax. Police said they found Bridegan’s vehicle shortly after 8:00 p.m. in the Lake Sanctuary neighborhood with its emergency flashers on and an unaccounted for spare tire in the road, leading authorities to believe the murder was a setup.
Bridegan’s 2-year-old daughter was in the backseat of the vehicle and watched her father being gunned down. Although the SUV was struck by gunfire in the attack, the child was unharmed.
The victim’s wife, Kirsten Bridegan, 30, recently spoke with Fox News, appealing for information about those responsible for killing the father of four.
“It was pure cowardice and evil,” said the bereaved woman. “To have that done where he didn’t even have a chance to fight back, and it was done in front of his daughter. I would ask anyone who knows anything to come forward.”
Jacksonville Beach Police Sgt. Tonya Tator previously told Oxygen.com that Bridegan was returning to his Nocatee home with the couple’s daughter, having just dropped off two of his older children with their mother, a woman with whom he’d previously been in a relationship.
Police believe Bridegan stopped on the road upon seeing the tire and exited his vehicle to investigate, according to News4Jax.
“He was right at the driver’s door, and we believe that the shooter was less than four feet, three feet from him,” said Det. Sgt. David Young.
Sgt. Tator told Oxygen.com, “We do believe it was targeted just because of the circumstances surrounding that evening.”
Kirsten Bridegan, who was home with the couple’s 7-month-old child, grew concerned when her husband didn't return after dropping off the older children.
“He wasn’t answering my texts or my calls,” Kirsten told Fox News. “I was thinking maybe he got in a car accident. I had a gut feeling something wasn’t right.”
Kirsten set out to find Bridegan when a voice she didn’t recognize answered the victim’s phone.
“A police officer answered but wouldn’t tell me if he was okay,” said Kirsten. “He said, ‘Please come to the Jacksonville Beach Police Department.’"
"I told my mom, ‘Jared is not OK,’" she added. "I just knew. My whole body, my spirit, I knew he wasn’t okay.”
At the time of the murder, Bridegan was a manager at Microsoft. He was a graduate of the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts high school and earned a degree at Utah Valley University, according to Fox News.
“He was a good neighbor, a good friend, a good colleague,” said his wife. “He was a very loved man.”
Shortly after the murder, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives added a $5,000 reward to an existing $8,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect. ATF Assistant Special Agent David Kamentz from the Tampa Field Office told Oxygen.com he hoped the reward would “keep the word out” and “keep it in the public eye.”
“Our involvement is derived from the fact that throughout this country and under this administration, violent crimes around the United Stated have become a top priority, and so that’s why we’re out there,” said Kamentz. “Our agents are working hard along with our partners to try and solve this case as soon as possible.”
According to Fox News, that reward has since been increased to $25,000, thanks to private donations.
Kirsten Bridegan said the event has left her 2-year-old in shock.
“She talks about the sound a lot. She says, ‘I had to cover my ears,’” said Kirsten. “When she talks about what happened, she calls it ‘the boom.’ She says, ‘Boom! Boom! Boom! Daddy on the ground.’”
In March, police released a video of “a vehicle of interest,” showing a truck driving in the area on the night of Bridegan’s murder. Authorities say it’s a dark-colored (likely blue) 2004-2008 Ford F-150 four-door truck. The vehicle appears to have silver running boards, brown trim, and a silver toolbox.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Jacksonville Beach Police Department at 1-904-270-1661 or First Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845 TIPS.