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A devastated widow begs for the public’s help after her young Microsoft executive husband is gunned down in front of their 2-year-old daughter in an upscale North Florida suburb.
“It was pure cowardice and evil,” said Kirsten Bridegan, 30, whose husband, Jared Bridegan, 33, was ambushed in his car on February 16, while their daughter, Bexley, watched from his car seat. “To have it done where he didn’t even have a chance to defend himself, and it was done in front of his daughter. I would ask anyone who knows something to come forward.”
The father of four has 9-year-old twins from a previous marriage. He had just dropped off the older children at his ex-wife’s home in Jacksonville Beach a little after 7:30 p.m.
He and Bexley were in the family’s black Volkswagen Atlas driving south to their home in St. Augustine when they encountered a tire in the middle of the one-way road, according to Kirsten and police. He exited his vehicle and was shot, Sgt. Tonya Tator told Fox News Digital. Authorities are investigating whether the tire was placed on the road to lure Jared out of his car.
“Jacksonville Beach is a safe community and a murder of this nature is very unusual,” Tator said of the neighborhood near the Atlantic Ocean and 15 minutes from the famous golf courses of TPC Sawgrass, home of the PGA Tour.
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Kirsten was home with their 7-month-old baby, London, and became alarmed when Jared didn’t return.
“He didn’t answer my texts or my calls,” she recalls. “I thought he might have been in a car accident. I had a feeling something was wrong.”
She jumped into a car with her mother to look for Jared. As they drove, Kirsten kept calling Jared’s phone, but it wasn’t her husband who finally picked up.
“A policeman answered but didn’t tell me if he was fine,” she recalls, holding back tears. “He said, ‘Please come to the Jacksonville Police Department.’ I said to my mother, ‘Jared is not well.’ I just knew. My whole body, my mind, I knew it wasn’t okay.”
Once at the police department, Kirsten hugged Bexley who was in shock after witnessing her father’s murder. Then a detective took Kirsten aside and told her that Jared was dead.
“I started crying, my hands were shaking – I looked for a bin because I felt like I was going to vomit. I kept saying, ‘This isn’t real, this isn’t real. can’t be real,” she said.
Kirsten and Jared
The couple first met online on a dating app and immediately clicked. “What struck me first was his profile picture. It was of him with his twins,” she said. Jared would drive 6 1/2 hours from Jacksonville to his home in Charlotte, North Carolina, to see her on weekends when he didn’t have his kids with him, she said.
About four months later, she moved to Jacksonville and the couple married in 2017.
“He was just a great guy through and through,” she said. “Whenever we argued, he was always the first to say I’m sorry, even though it was my fault.”
Jared was originally from Jacksonville and graduated from the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts before earning his college degree at Utah Valley University.
He was working as a user experience manager at Microsoft when he was killed. Kirsten had also worked for the software giant as an account manager, but quit a few months ago to become a full-time mum.
“He was a good neighbor, a good friend, a good colleague,” Kirsten said. “He was a much loved man.”
Kirsten declined to discuss Jared’s relationship with his ex-wife, but a source told Fox News she was tense. Although invited, Jared’s twins from his previous marriage did not attend their father’s funeral. His ex-wife could not immediately be reached for comment.
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sergeant. Tator urged the public to provide any information that might help them solve Jared’s murder. The Jacksonville Police Department previously released surveillance video stills of a dark-colored Ford F-150 that they called a “vehicle of interest.”
“Someone out there knows what happened or knows someone who was involved in this, and we’re asking them to do the right thing,” Tator said.
The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are helping local police with resources — including their labs to process forensic evidence.
“We are waiting for the forensic evidence to come back and when we receive that information we will go from there in our investigation.” Tator said. There is a $25,000 reward – authorities offered $8,000 while private donors contributed an additional $17,000.
Anyone with information should contact the Jacksonville Police Department at 904-270-1661 or First Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.
Kirsten said the shocking murder hurt Bexley the most.
“She talks a lot about the sound. She goes, ‘I had to cover my ears,'” Kirsten said. “When she talks about what happened, she calls it ‘The Boom.’ She says, “Boom! Boom! Boom! Dad on the ground. “”
Kirsten said Bexley asked a lot of questions about her father, but also missed her older siblings, whom she had barely seen since the murder. “I miss them too,” Kirsten said. “We didn’t just lose Jared, we lost our family structure.”
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Every night, Bexley sleeps with a blanket his father gave him. Kirsten tucked her in and she asked if God had any blankets. “I asked her why, and she said, ‘I want dad to have a blanket in heaven.'”