Police are seeking to identify a ‘suspicious person’ caught on camera at Kirsten Bridegan’s home just days after her husband, Jared, 33, was gunned down in what police have described as a ‘targeted attack.’
Sharing exclusive security camera footage and details with DailyMail.com, Kirsten, 30, revealed that she was left ‘scared’ and ‘not okay’ by the still unexplained incident.
It took place on the evening of February 24, the week after her husband’s murder on Wednesday February 16.
She recalled, ‘I was putting Bexley to bed, and I got an alert on my watch that a person was spotted on the driveway.’
Two-year-old Bexley was in the car, strapped into her car seat, when her father was shot multiple times on a quiet stretch of Sanctuary Boulevard just two miles from the home of his ex-wife Shanna Fernandez, 35.
In the footage recorded by Kirsten’s Nest camera the Thursday following his murder, a bright blurry figure can be seen moving quickly from the corner of the garage, across the yard and away from the house
Kirsten told all gathered that she hopes to send a message and ‘put pressure’ on those responsible for the February 16 shooting that took place just minutes from both the park and Shanna Fernandez’s nearby home
Jared’s two-year-old daughter Brexley was in the car when he was murdered. She still asks her mother about ‘the boom’ – which is how she refers to the gunshots she heard
Bridegan was returning to his home in St. Augustine, Florida, having dropped his nine-year-old twins back at their mother’s house having taken them to dinner.
He got out of his car to move a tire placed in the road, police believe, as a trap to lure him out of the car. Witnesses have said that it was not on the stretch of road moments earlier.
In the footage recorded by Kirsten’s Nest camera the following Thursday evening, a bright blurry figure can be seen moving quickly from the corner of the garage, across the yard and away from the house.
She said ‘I was scared. Jared had just been killed. Someone that near the corner of my house… I did not feel okay.
‘I called the detectives who said to call the local police and my neighbor who is ex-military helped me scan the yard, but we didn’t find anything.’
Unfortunately, her neighbors’ cameras that may have had a better angle on the intruder were, she said, switched off.
She said, ‘Some people have said it looks like a ghost or it was just a bug, but the police had a specialist look at it and it’s a human being.
‘The police were supportive about it and sent patrol cars for a while to check on me.
‘I was not okay [with it] – the timing, for me, was not okay at all and we still don’t know who it was.’
St John’s County Sheriff’s Office would not comment on the incident beyond saying that it was an open case.
Bridegan was shot multiple times at close range next to the driver’s door of his Volkswagen Atlas. His two-year-old daughter, Bexley, was in the car, strapped in her child-seat.
The brutal crime has sent shockwaves through the quiet Florida beach town with Bridegan’s friends and family expressing profound shock that anyone should have targeted the man whom, they say, had no enemies.
The devout Mormon tech executive was, according to his grieving widow, a devoted and wonderful father to twins Liam and Abbie, daughter Bexley and their youngest daughter London, just seven months old.
But, DailyMail.com has learned, there were cracks behind the apparently picture-perfect blended family. Bridegan’s ex Shanna Fernandez and their children did not attend his funeral and instead held a separate memorial service some weeks later.
In now deleted blog posts, obtained by DailyMail.com, Bridegan’s former mother-in-law, Shelli Gardner, 60, initially claimed that Fernandez ‘and everybody who knows her’ was ‘uninvited’ from the funeral.
She wrote, ‘After Shanna (along with everybody who knew her) was uninvited from Jared’s funeral services, Shanna and the twins planned their own celebration of life.’
Jared, Kirsten, the twins and their two daughters Brexley, two, and London, seven-months. Kirsten says she wants to find out who killed her husband to be able to explain his death to his children
Jared was gunned down on a quiet stretch of road, surrounded by trees, in Jacksonville Beach on February 16. No cameras are thought to have caught the killing
The Microsoft executive was found 2.2 miles from Shanna’s home after dropping off the kids on February 16. It was on a quiet patch of road, where there were no security cameras
When comments were posted taking issue with this statement Gardner posted once more, writing, ‘As everyone knows there are multiple sides to every story and I’ve chosen not to share our side, for the sake of everyone involved, especially our children.
‘I would like to clarify a couple of points,’ she added. Y’es, Kirsten offered to arrange to pick up Liam and Abby prior to the memorial service and then bring them back…but since not one person from Jared’s family, including his parents, had reached out to Liam and Abby, the twins didn’t want to be without their mom.’
‘The twins’ therapist…said it was crucial that Liam and Abby attend the memorial for their healing and well-being, and that they need their mother with them,’ Gardner added.
‘That was disregarded by Kirsten. That is why Shanna decided to help the twins with her own memorial service.’
‘We don’t love each other any more,’ Shanna said during court hearings for her 2015 divorce from Jared
In reality this is just a hint of the acrimony that, DailyMail.com can reveal, has seethed for years between Bridegan and his ex – a woman who, according to comments since deleted by Gardner from her blog, ’emotionally and psychologically manipulated,’ her ex-husband and ‘made his life hell.’
In fact, the former couple had been locked in almost constant litigation for the past six years.
Now, divorce documents obtained exclusively by DailyMail.com tell the sorry tale of escalating tensions and increasingly vicious allegations leveled, for the most part, by Shanna against her ex-husband.
It was Shanna who filed for divorce in February 2015, after five years of marriage on the grounds that the relationship was irrevocably broken. She told the court quite simply, ‘We don’t love each other anymore.’
In her original petition she accused him of threatening to withdraw funds from their children’s trust funds which, she claimed, were in his name.
The funds were set up by Fernandez’s parents, Sterling Gardner, 72, and his wife Shelli, who are hugely wealthy after Shelli co-founded Stamp Up, a direct sales company specializing in stamps with an annual turnover of more than $100million.
Bridegan denied Fernandez’s allegations regarding the trust funds and the issue was quickly dropped but it was the first of many shots she fired in numerous filings across the years making various allegations that were later withdrawn after taking up court time and running up attorneys’ fees.
At the start, neither party would move out of the family home with both demanding sole use of it and so, one filing notes, the relationship between them became increasingly strained.
In the filing Bridegan accuses his then estranged wife of locking him out of the master bedroom, installing surveillance devices in the children’s bedroom and his car and speaking to him, ‘in a disparaging manner in front of the children.’
He alleged that this was all an attempt on her part to ‘drive him out of the family home…in order to attempt to gain an advantage in this custody case.’
Their son has a congenital heart condition that requires specialist treatment in New York. In June 2015, four months after Shanna filed for divorce, Bridegan accused his ex of ‘unilaterally’ cancelling a scheduled surgery to which he was due to take the child.
Jared Bridegan, 33, was murdered in a targeted attack in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. His widow called him a devoted and wonderful father
‘Jared was an amazing man,’ his widow Kirsten told DailyMail.com. She is pictured with their older daughter Bexley, 2
Jared Bridegan and his first wife Shanna pose for a photographer at their 2010 wedding. After their divorce the couple squabbled in court about custody arrangements for their twins
He also accused her of ‘engaging in conduct during his marriage in an effort to starve [him] into submission.’
The divorce was finalized in July 2015 but by November the couple were back in court, squabbling over the terms of the custody agreement which called for a 50/50 split.
By the following May, Bridegan had taken his wife to court filing a motion accusing her of contempt and calling for the court to enforce the custody terms by which, he claimed, she was not abiding.
It was just the first of dozens of filings dominated by the issues of custody of the children, their healthcare, travel and schooling.
Meanwhile the litigation between Shanna and Bridegan dragged on through the years, with the language in the filings becomes increasingly hostile and the allegations ever more outlandish.
While Bridegan and his new wife Kirsten were, by all accounts, building a family, Shanna was alleging that Bridegan was guilty of, ‘disturbing and abusive behavior’ towards their children.
In a court filing in 2020 she claimed he had been ‘regularly interrogating the minor children and recording their statements.’ She stated, ‘It also appears that the Father is actively coaching the children what to say… [and is] now threatening to use these coached recorded statements against the mother.’
These actions are, she insisted, ‘clearly abusive both emotionally and mentally and an outrageous violation of shared parental responsibility as well as basic decency.’
In the last filing entered into the record just four months before Bridegan’s violent death Shanna accused him of caring more about humiliating her than the life of his own son.
Police are looking for this 2004-2008 Ford F150 truck which they believe may have been involved in the murder
She accused him of withholding medical equipment – an oxygen machine needed by her son for travel above a certain altitude – unless she apologized for a host of ‘transgressions.’
The court document states, ‘The Father clearly considers his vindictiveness toward the Mother far more important than protecting his son’s life.’ She claims that he put in writing, ‘that he is more concerned with humiliating the Mother than he is in making sure his own child does not die’ and described this as ‘a shocking turn of events.’
Shanna Fernandez ultimately lost her action calling for sanctions against Bridegan and, in only a handful of months, an even more ‘shocking turn of events’ took place when Bridegan’s death drew a very firm line under years of constant and increasingly hostile litigation. The recording of his death is the last entry on the lengthy docket.
Shanna has not spoken publicly about her former husband’s death. She has stopped taking orders for her baking company beachbaked904 and would not come to the door when approached by DailyMail.com, though her husband told DailyMail.com that both she and he have spoken with detectives working the case.
DailyMail.com has also learned that detectives have conducted interviews about the allegations of animal cruelty leveled against Mario Fernandez. They have also asked the couple’s neighbors for any security footage from the day of the killing.
Police have told DailyMail.com that they are waiting for forensic reports to come back on evidence, which includes shell casings, recovered from the scene.
For now, the only lead police appear to have is footage of a blue 2004-2008 Ford F150 truck that was filmed by surveillance cameras near the crime scene around the time of the shooting.
When both remarried in 2018 tensions escalated as, Fernandez alleged, ‘The Father is currently insisting that the Mother’s new husband may not exercise overnight timesharing with the minor children when the Mother is away. He is additionally creating problems with the Mother’s new husband being involved on a more general basis with the minor children. However, he insists that his own new wife should be fully involved in the children’s lives.’
She branded Bridegan’s ‘interpretation’ of their custody agreement as ‘one-sided [and] dishonest.’
Bridegan’s widow Kirsten wipes away a tear at the vigil held for him April 19 in Jacksonville Beach, Florida
Speaking to DailyMail.com on the evening of the candlelight vigil Kirsten Bridegan voiced her belief that there is more than one killer at large
Jared’s siblings Adam Bridegan and Ashley Jenkins remember their brother during the April 19 vigil in South Beach Sunshine Park
Justin Bridegan, brother of Jared, told DailyMail.com that he has faith that his brothers killer will be caught. ‘We don’t just want an arrest, we want a conviction,’ he said
But if Bridegan expressed misgivings about Shanna’s new husband, Mario Fernandez, 33, he was not alone.
A police report obtained by DailyMail.com shortly after Shanna and Fernandez married shows that he was the subject of an investigation into animal cruelty resulting in death.
A source who spoke to DailyMail.com on condition of anonymity explained that Mario Fernandez was accused of shooting and killing a local cat with a BB gun.
According to the report the cat’s owners took it to the vet where BB gun pellets were found in its leg and abdomen.
The source said that people in the neighborhood were ‘scared’ of Fernandez. They said, ‘Mario was always having run-ins with people who fed the local strays. He was always threatening to kill them [the cats], and he had a BB gun with a scope that he said he would use on them.’
The Jacksonville Beach Police Department officer who wrote the report spoke with Fernandez at length and noted, ‘He stated that he was upset because there were people feeding stray cats…he said he had cats in his backyard, and it was making his dog bark in the middle of the night. Fernandez also said he tried putting pepper on the fence as well as shooting the cats with a BB gun.’
When the officer told him that would be considered ‘animal cruelty’ Fernandez stated, ‘if it did not get better soon, he would take more ‘extreme actions.’ The police officer noted he seemed ‘very aggravated’ during the conversation.
I was not okay [with it] – the timing, for me, was not okay at all and we still don’t know who it was
Jared’s widow, Kirsten Bridegan
Ultimately Fernandez was not prosecuted as police attempts to follow up with him were unsuccessful.
Speaking to DailyMail.com on the evening of the candlelight vigil Kirsten Bridegan voiced her belief that there is more than one killer at large.
She said, ‘To me that was sophisticated to be done by one person – to have the tire in the road then have him immediately shot. That seems too sophisticated to me to be one person acting on their own.’
Police have stated that they believe Bridegan was targeted by somebody familiar with his routine and habit of driving that route home. The shooting itself took place in a surveillance camera black spot – out of sight of the numerous nearby homes with cameras and ring doorbells.
The reward for any information leading to an arrest has been increased to $30,000 and Kirsten and Bridegan’s family and friends are keen to keep public awareness of the crime high in the hope that it will put pressure on those who know anything to come forward.
Kirsten said, ‘I have a lot of faith in the detectives that are working on this, but this is not a TV show, things do not get solved in sixty minutes.
‘My hope is that someone sees this and feels the pressure and comes forward to say something because it’s been two months since he was gunned down and our family is going to keep fighting however long it takes.
‘We will get justice whether in this life or the next.’