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Two months with no answers in the February roadside shooting of Jared Bridegan in Jacksonville Beach, Florida

The 33-year-old was shot and killed on Sanctuary Boulevard in Jacksonville Beach, Florida in the evening of February 16, 2022.
Jared and Kirsten Bridegan
Jared and Kirsten BrideganKirsten Bridegan

Kirsten Bridegan knew something was wrong as she waited for her husband, Jared, to come home.

It was getting late and Jared wasn’t answering his phone. He was driving home to St. Augustine from Jacksonville Beach where he’d just dropped off his 9-year-old twins, a boy and girl from a previous marriage, at their mother’s house. In the backseat of Jared’s SUV was his and Kirsten’s 2-year-old daughter, Bexley. Kirsten was home with their 6-month-old daughter, London.

“I just knew something’s not OK,” Kirsten told Dateline. “He always answers me, especially if he’s in the car.” Worried, she got in her own car and went looking for her husband. She kept calling until, finally, someone picked up. It was a police officer. “'Your daughter’s OK,’” Kirsten quoted the officer as saying. “But when I asked about Jared, he just kept telling me to drive to the Jacksonville Beach Police Department.”

Kirsten knew that meant only one thing – her husband was dead. She was right: Jared had been brutally murdered right in front of their daughter.

It happened in the early evening of February 16, 2022, on Sanctuary Boulevard, a quiet Jacksonville Beach street. Jared Bridegan was gunned down while Bexley, strapped into her car seat, looked on. Police officers responding to reports of shots fired arrived on the scene and found the 33-year-old dead from multiple gunshot wounds, lying next to the open door of his Volkswagen Atlas.

The tire found in the middle of the road
The tire found in the middle of the roadJacksonville Beach Police Department

Police say there was a tire in the middle of the road blocking the vehicle’s path and they believe it’s possible Jared was shot when he stopped and got out of his SUV to move it. His wife Kirsten believes the tire was placed there by someone who wanted to target Jared. She says it was a route he had driven several times dropping the twins off at their mother’s house, so someone who knew Jared’s routine could have taken advantage of it.

Jared was divorced when he and Kirsten matched on a dating app in early 2017. Kirsten told Dateline that just from the pictures of Jared on his profile she could see the “kindness in his eyes and smile.”

Jared and Kirsten Bridegan
Jared and Kirsten BrideganKirsten Bridegan

The problem? Kirsten lived in Charlotte, North Carolina, while Jared lived over six hours away in Florida. Kirsten said she had neglected to set the distance range on her profile, so she matched with people from all around the country. However, Jared’s profile stood out. There was “something about him that made me want to talk,” Kirsten said.

They did, and the distance turned out not to be a problem at all. Jared drove to Charlotte for their first date. “I found my best friend,” Kirsten recalled of their courtship, which consisted of the two getting together as often as possible. They loved to hike. In fact, Jared proposed while they were on a hike. Kirsten moved to Florida and they married in October of that same year.

Jared Bridegan and his daughter Bexley
Jared Bridegan and his daughter BexleyKirsten Bridegan

Their daughter Bexley was born in August 2019. The family settled in St. Augustine, just south of Jacksonville Beach where Jared’s ex-wife lived. Jared and his ex-wife shared custody of the twins, with Jared and Kirsten having them every other week.

In August 2021, the couple had a second daughter, London. Kirsten told Dateline Jared “loved being a dad” and “went above and beyond to be fun and make memories with the kids.” This included family bike rides and turning the “garage into a laser tag arena including a smoke machine and LED lights,” Kirsten said.

The Bridegan family
The Bridegan familyKirsten Bridegan

The loss is still raw, but Kirsten said she has found her voice in the days, weeks, and months since Jared’s murder. She has regularly spoken publicly about what happened and shared her pain. Her hope is that by keeping Jared’s death in the news, someone will come forward with the information authorities need to make an arrest. “Whoever did this is a whole other level of evil,” Kirsten told Dateline, describing her husband’s killer. “You tricked him to stopping. Shot him at close range. Our daughter was in the car. What maniac does that?”

That’s a question on seemingly everyone’s mind in Jacksonville Beach, Mayor Chris Hoffman told Dateline. She said the roughly 23,000 residents of the beach community outside Jacksonville see very little violent crime and murder is unheard of there. Mayor Hoffman told Dateline she has not received any calls from citizens concerned for their own safety afraid of a killer or killers being on the loose.

Most believe, as she does, that this was not a random shooting but rather that someone had targeted Jared. The mayor also said she “has every confidence in our police department’s” ability to investigate the crime alongside its partners at the state and federal level.

Vehicle of interest in the homicide investigation of Jared Bridegan. On the night of 02/16/22, between the hours of 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., the truck shown in the top two images was in the Jacksonville Beach area. The truck is believed to be a dark colored (likely blue) 2004 - 2008 Ford F150 (four doors) with running boards (possibly silver), brown trim and a silver toolbox. The bottom photo is not the actual vehicle.
Vehicle of interest in the homicide investigation of Jared Bridegan. On the night of 02/16/22, between the hours of 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., the truck shown in the top two images was in the Jacksonville Beach area. The truck is believed to be a dark colored (likely blue) 2004 - 2008 Ford F150 (four doors) with running boards (possibly silver), brown trim and a silver toolbox. The bottom photo is not the actual vehicle.Jacksonville Beach Police Department

Two months into the investigation, no arrests have been made. Investigators are seeking the public’s help in locating a dark blue Ford F-150 four-door truck that was caught on security cameras from businesses in the area around the time of the murder.

Sergeant Tonya Tator of the Jacksonville Beach Police Department told Dateline in an email that the truck is “a vehicle of interest,” but would not elaborate as to why that particular vehicle is being sought by authorities. Sergeant Tator also said the investigation into Jared’s death “is still very active” and “detectives are waiting on forensic evidence to return from the lab.”

There are currently rewards totaling $30,000 ($25,000 by First Coast Crimestoppers and $5,000 by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in Jared’s murder. Anyone with information about this case should contact the Jacksonville Beach Police Department at 904-270-1667 or First Coast Crimestoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS (8477) or www.fccrimestoppers.com.