(NewsNation) — Jared Bridegan was the father of a new baby girl and three young children when an unknown gunman shot and killed the 33-year-old earlier this year.
According to his wife, Bridegan was a loving dad and husband, accessible now only through memories of bedtime stories and backyard games, or the red and white flowers that mark the roadside where he spent his final moments.
“We talked about having one more child,” Jared’s wife, Kirsten Bridegan, said. “We talked about what we were going to do for our five-year anniversary in October. That was all taken away. He didn’t get to see his daughter start crawling. He didn’t get to see her first tooth come in. It is just not fair.”
Their St. Augustine, Florida, life looked perfect. Jared Bridegan was a father of four —two younger girls with Kirsten and a set of twins from a previous marriage — and worked as an executive at Microsoft.
On Feb. 16, Jared Bridegan dropped off his elder kids at their mother’s Jacksonville Beach home, police said. He was driving home with his 2-year-old daughter in the backseat when detectives say he potentially spotted a tire on the road and pulled over.
“He got out of the vehicle, we believe, to check on that tire,” Jacksonville Beach Police Sgt. Tonya Tator said. “We are investigating why that happened — if it was put there purposefully or if it was just happenstance.”
Jared Bridegan was shot and killed as he exited his car, police said.
Jared Bridegan’s daughter, still in the back seat, witnessed her father’s murder.
“She knows Daddy was on the ground. Daddy got hurt. She asks questions about why,” Kirsten Bridegan said. “She wants to know why this happened — why Daddy is not here.”
Police have made no arrests in connection with Jared Bridegan’s death.
“I think the biggest part is just knowing that the murderer or murderers are still out there,” Kirsten Bridegan said. “They are still at large. They could hurt another family. They could hurt me. That is not OK. The person who did this is ruthless. Cold-hearted. And a coward. They need to be caught.”
Investigators have little to go on, but they’re searching for a Ford F-150 with running boards, brown trim and a toolbox. The vehicle might be connected to the shooting, police said.
In the wake of her husband’s death, Kirsten Bridegan spends her days posting photos of the truck to social media with hopes of identifying the shooter.
The nights are the hardest, she said, particularly when she’s alone their 2-year-old daughter.
“She knows that dad is in heaven. We talk about that a lot,” Kirsten Bridegan said. “I think that brings her comfort, knowing he is with Jesus. We have a picture a friend of mind painted of Jared next to the Savior and she will often look at it and say Daddy is with God. Daddy is with God. And talk about him that way. She is strong and pushing through as best as anyone could.”
A $30,000 reward has been offered in exchange for information that leads to the shooter.