Arrest coming in Jacksonville Beach murder of father killed in front of his 2-year-old


Jared Bridegan, 33, was shot and killed Feb. 16, 2022 in the Sanctuary neighborhood of Jacksonville Beach.

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — The Jacksonville Beach Police Department confirmed that it will announce a significant development Wednesday regarding the February 2022 murder of Jared Bridegan.

The agency says that Jacksonville Beach Police Department Chief Gene Paul Smith will be joined by State Attorney Melissa Nelson at the Jacksonville Beach Police Department on Penman Road.

The news conference will take place at noon, according to JBPD. You can stream that here live.

This comes 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. 

Bridegan, 33, was shot and killed Feb. 16, 2022 in 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.

The case has garnered national attention through the months, so First Coast News reached out to a retired detective for his perspective on cases that take a while to solve.

“It’s just something about being a father,” said First Coast News Crime and Safety Specialist Kim Varner. “You just step it up when there’s kids involved.”

Kim Varner mainly investigated narcotics during his nearly thirty year career with Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, meaning he had to work with a lot of distraught families along the way.

When he heard Bridegan was shot and killed in front of his two year old daughter, he knew that meant police were going to have a lot of hard conversations with the family.

“The main thing is that you keep in contact with the family,” said Varner. “Let them know when you have something going on. You can’t jeopardize the case. That’s one of the hard things.”

Varner says solving a case that’s gone on for so long is emotional for investigators, especially when they can finally fill in the family without risking compromising the case.

“The good feeling is that you’re bringing that family some closure,” said Varner. “They’ve had to wait a whole year and you finally bring them some closure, that’s the big thing about it.”

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