After a tech CEO is shot in front of a kid, a family searches for answers in Utah

After Jared Bridgan is murdered in front of his daughter in Florida, his family hopes to find evidence of his death in Utah, where he lived and worked. (family photo)

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Salt Lake City – About three months ago, Jared Bridgan delivered his two twin children from a previous marriage at his ex-wife’s home.

About a mile away, he hit a tire in the middle of the narrow road. Once he got out of his car to get the tire off the road, he was shot four times at point blank range and killed.

His sister Ashley Jenkins said: “The hardest thing about this case was that his two-year-old daughter was watching her in his back seat.”

For the man’s 33-year-old widow, Kirsten Bridgan: “We take it day in and day out, me and my daughter.”

The murder took place in Jacksonville, Florida, where Jared Bridgen and his family had moved to be near his two older children. No surveillance cameras caught the shooting, and no one was arrested. But his family hopes to find evidence of his death in Utah, where he and his wife attended college in Utah County. His ex-wife is also from Utah, where they had twins who are now 9 years old.

Jenkins said nothing was stolen from Jared Bridgen, leading the police and his family to believe it was just an operation.

“So it’s very personal,” she said. “We know he’s basically someone who has complaints about my brother.” “Honestly, we are all heartbroken because this was the worst nightmare we have ever had to endure.”

Jared Bridgan worked as a Senior Design Director at Microsoft. Prior to that, he worked for Clean Simple Eats in Utah. In addition to his twins and 2-year-old daughter, he and his wife had a 7-month-old baby. Jenkins said his widow was now left to deal with the tragedy and take care of the baby herself.

While their infant daughter is too young to know what happened, Kirsten Bridgan said she and her two-year-old daughter have good days where they can laugh, but also many tough days.

“That’s why I put so much effort into sharing this with news stations, and posting this on social media, because it helps me cope,” she said, adding that “fighting for answers” for her husband helps her through each day.

If a suspect is found, “that means it all. My husband didn’t deserve this. My family didn’t deserve this. I want him to get justice. His life is over. All four of his children are now orphans. The years they were orphans,” said Kirsten Bridgan. They expect to spend it with their father, they didn’t ask him to walk down the aisle with them, to be there when he graduates… This is gone and cannot be replaced.”

She added that it would be helpful to know that someone was paying “a very small price” for what was taken.

Jenkins said the family believes that some Utahns may have heard things about the murder that could prompt those who did it to face justice.

“I would just ask for the public’s help to speak up and share anything that might help this cause, no matter how small. It can do justice to his name, so any advice would be greatly appreciated,” Jenkins said.

Police are also looking for a pickup truck seen at the scene of the shooting – a dark blue Ford F-150, with brown or tan trim and running boards, manufactured between 2004-2008. Kirsten Bridegan said the truck can now be anywhere.

Police search for a truck seen at the scene of the Jared Bridgen shooting in Jacksonville, Florida.
Police search for a truck seen at the scene of the Jared Bridgen shooting in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo: Kristen Jenkins)

Until someone could plot the murder, Kirsten Bridegan suspects they’d still drive the truck if it belonged to them. But she urged anyone who knows someone who drives a truck like her, and who may have stopped driving it in recent months, to contact investigators.

“I hope by sharing this more people will be aware, so that if someone sees a truck that fits the description, they will call the police,” she said.

Although shy and reserved, Jenkins said her brother was known and liked at work, in his neighborhood, and in his family as someone who was always willing to help others.

“My brother was the person the whole neighborhood went to to get tools to help with projects around the house, and they absolutely loved him. He was the first to serve. Anyone could go to him to help out with projects or to fix things and leave everything to help them,” Jenkins recalls.

She said he also loves spending time with his kids and working on projects with them.

“His character was just service and love, and I think if there’s anything he wants to be famous for, it’s the love of all his four children,” she said.

Other reports indicate that older children, although invited to his funeral, did not attend. Asked to comment on these reports, Jenkins said children were not allowed to attend but did not provide additional details. Kirsten Bridgan said they were also not allowed to attend a vigil in his honor.

Jenkins said she thought whoever planned to kill him “thought he’d be able to get away with this” because of his calm personality, but there are plenty of people who care about him.

Kirsten Bridgan said the names of the suspects have not been released.

Jenkins noted that a group of Utah tech companies, the Crime Stoppers Group, private donors, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms had offered the companies $55,000 for information leading to the conviction of Jared Pridegan.

Those with information can contact Crime Stoppers at 866-845-8477. The family has also set up an Instagram page at Justiceforjaredb, where they are trying to spread the word across social media.

revision: An earlier version said Bridgan was injured three times. It was also mentioned in an earlier version that his ex-wife and his twin were invited to his funeral, but only children were invited.

Utahn for life Ashley Imlay covers state politics and breaking news for KSL.com.

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