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Arrest expected in murder of man killed in front of his 2-year-old in Jacksonville Beach

As the one year anniversary of Jared Bridegan's murder nears, law enforcement sources say there will be an arrest announced Wednesday.

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — UPDATE: Police make arrest in 'planned, targeted' murder of St. Augustine father, say shooter did not act alone

RELATED: Man arrested in Jared Bridegan murder was a tenant of his ex-wife’s husband

Nearly a year after a St. Augustine father of four was shot to death in front of his 2-year-old daughter, an arrest is expected in the case. Law enforcement sources with access to information about the investigation tell First Coast News to expect the announcement as soon as Wednesday.

Jared Bridegan, 33, was shot and killed Feb. 16, 2022 on a sideroad near the Sanctuary neighborhood of Jacksonville Beach. The Microsoft executive had just dropped off his 10-year-old twins at the home of his ex-wife and was returning home to St. Augustine. Jacksonville Beach Police said the incident occurred between 7:15 and 8 p.m. and was witnessed by his daughter.

Investigators said they believe it was a targeted shooting but did not offer a motive. Early on, police asked for the public’s help finding a blue Ford F-150 pickup truck spotted by three security cameras in the area. Police also said there was a tire found in the middle of the road, and that it was possible Bridegan got out of his SUV to move it when he was shot. He died of multiple gunshot wounds.

Bridegan had two children with his current wife, Kirsten Bridegan, including the child who witnessed the crime. First Coast News reached to her for this story, but did not immediately hear back.

Bridegan also shared custody of the twins with his ex-wife, Shanna Gardner-Fernandez, following a bitter, years-long custody battle. 

In a rare interview in June 2022, Gardner-Fernandez told news partners The Florida Times-Union she was motivated to speak out after what she called sensationalistic media coverage and harassment. In the interview, she denied published reports that she had an affair that led to the end of the couple's marriage:

“She also addressed a report about her asking a tattoo parlor employee in 2015 if he knew anyone who would "shut … up" her ex-husband. Gardner-Fernandez acknowledged making the statement — people say such things during "bitter" divorces, she said — but denied having any intent to harm him.

"Our relationship was pretty complicated and remained pretty complicated," she said. 

When she was told he was dead, she said she was devastated and collapsed to the ground, despite their acrimony. 

"I was shocked. I didn't believe it," she said. "It didn't seem real."

Gardner-Fernandez’s mom, Shelli Gardner, has also commented on the case in her blog, “So Shelli.” In a March 21 post, she said that “Shanna (along with anyone who knew her) was uninvited from Jared’s funeral services.”

Bridegan’s wife Kirsten Bridegan told First Coast News on the six-month anniversary of his murder that she hoped his story isn't forgotten. She created an Instagram account "JusticeForJaredB" and gave interviews to numerous national news outlets. But she said keeping the case high-profile also caused her concern, since no arrests have been made.

"There is a part of me that worries about me being so vocal and fighting so much that they could try to hurt me or Bexley, because Bexley was there," she said of her daughter.

Recently, her nonprofit the Bridegan Foundation provided the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office its first so-called "Bexley Boxes," which contain comfort items for children in the midst of a traumatic criminal experience.  

A $55,000 reward has been offered in the case. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS (8477) or the Jacksonville Beach Police Department at 904-270-1667.

Credit: Bridegan Family
Credit: JBPD
Jared Galen Bridegan


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