Widow of Microsoft executive gunned down in front of 2-year-old daughter prays ‘evil and cowardly’ killers are brought to justice


The widow of a Florida Microsoft executive who was gunned down in an execution-style murder in front of his two-year-old daughter is praying that forensic evidence will lead detectives to her husband’s killer.

Father-of-four Jared Bridegan, 33, was driving home with his daughter Bexley after dropping his nine-year-old twins with his ex-wife when he was ambushed and shot dead in Jacksonville Beach on 16 February.

Mr Bridegan had just got out of his black Volkswagen Atlas SUV to remove a tire that was obstructing the roadway when he was shot at close range, as Bexley sat in her carseat just feet away.

Jared Bridegan was a doting father of four, including his youngest London

(Courtesy of the Bridegan family)

His widow Kirsten Bridegan, 30, told The Independent that two months on from the shocking murder, law enforcement were still waiting on forensics recovered from the scene to come back from the lab.

“I am praying that they can recover DNA or fingerprints from the evidence that they’ve sent for processing because that will let us know who is behind this and who killed him,” she said.

“It’s so frustrating that it takes time but this isn’t a TV show, it’s real life. I pray and hope that when that comes in that will give us someone or something to go after.”

Ms Bridegan has set up Instagram and TikTok accounts to help find her husband’s assassins, and says the investigation seemed to have picked up traction in the past week.

Jared and Kirsten Bridegan

(Courtesy of the Bridegan family)

The Jacksonville Beach Police Department released images of a truck they believe could have been involved in the shooting

(The Jacksonville Beach Police Department / Facebook)

Police are investigating whether the killer or killers deliberately placed the tire in the middle of the one-way road and lay in wait for the victim to get out of his car to remove it – a theory Ms Bridegan finds believable.

The Jacksonville Police Department has appealed for information about a dark Ford F150 pickup truck captured on surveillance cameras near the scene of the slaying.

The FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives have joined local law enforcement in investigating the murder.

A $30,000 reward, made up of public and private donations, for information leading to the killer’s arrest has been offered.

Violent crime in the Jacksonville Beach neighbourhood where Mr Bridegan was shot is extremely rare, and believe it was a targeted killing.

Jared Bridegan was dropping his eldest twins off at his ex-wife’s home when he was murdered

(Courtesy of Bridegan family)

Ms Bridegan told The Independent she can’t imagine why anyone would want to hurt her husband.

“Jared was such a good man, a good father, great spouse and a loyal friend. He would lend a tool to anybody who needed it, go to their house and help them. It’s just shocking that anyone would target him and to do it in such an evil and cowardly way, especially with my daughter in the car.”

Police are understandably being tight-lipped about any developments in the case, she said, and that they even had to rule her out as a suspect in the initial stages of the investigation.

“I know at one point I was being looked into. I get it, they look at everyone close when something like this happens.”

She says her infant daughter Bexley, big sister to seven-month-old London, was virtually inseparable from her father. She used to burst into his office at their St Augustine home while he was on a work Zoom call, and they would read books, ride bikes and prepare meals together.

Jared Bridegan, 33, went everywhere with his 2-year-old daughter Bexley

(Facebook/Jared Bridegan)

“From the minute she woke up to the minute she went to bed, she just wanted to be with Jared.”

The two-year-old heard the fatal gunshots from her car seat, and saw her father lying dead on the ground. Since the killing, she “stops in her tracks” if she hears a sirens and gets scared at the sound of loud noise, her mum said.

“But she pushes through, she talks about Dad. We focus a lot on him being OK, he’s in heaven, he’s watching over us. I think that brings her some comfort.”

Mr Bridegan shared custody of his nineyear-old twins Liam and Abby with his ex-wife Shanna.

On the night he was murdered, he had been on a date night with the twins, and drove the same route he would take every week.

The twins didn’t attend his funeral service. But in a post to her custom bakery’s Instagram account, Mr Bridegan’s ex-wife Shanna said she had held a private memorial with family and friends to “show support for my littles”.

“It was a very emotional day, but also a day for smiles, laughter and love.”

Ms Bridegan didn’t want to comment on her husband’s relationship with his ex-wife Shanna, but said he had found it challenging raising his eldest children between two homes.

“Being a father of children that are split between two homes is difficult, and that was something was difficult for him.”

Ms Bridegan says the grief of losing her husband of five years is unbearable at times, but that she’s focused on caring for her daughters, and bringing her husband’s killers to justice.

“It’s hard allowing myself to feel those emotions and deal with them head on. Sometimes I feel like I have to push those aside and be here for my daughters. I’ve just been trying to focus on my girls and get answers.

“Someone out there knows something, someone out there knows who did this. Whether it’s for the reward money, or because you’re a decent person and have a shred of humanity, please come forward. Please keep sharing, keep looking.”

A public memorial and candlelit vigil is being held for Mr Bridegan at South Beach Park on Tuesday night.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Jacksonville Beach Police Department at 904-270-1661 or First Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.


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