JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – A day after police released the name of a 33-year-old father gunned down in front of his 2-year-old daughter and announced an increased reward for information leading to an arrest in his death, investigators flooded the Jacksonville Beach neighborhood where he was killed.
It’s been a week since Jared Bridegan, of St. Johns County, was shot on Sanctuary Boulevard near J. Turner Butler Boulevard at the front of a quiet family neighborhood called Lake Sanctuary.
Bridegan’s 2-year-old daughter was in the SUV, which was also struck by gunfire, but she wasn’t hurt. The father of four was fatally wounded. A memorial cross with the words “Justice 4 Jared” has been placed at the scene of the shooting.
Police have been pleading for help from the public to find the shooter, and an $8,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in his death is now being offered, according to police.
Throughout the week, detectives have asked neighbors to check their surveillance cameras. Investigators tell News4Jax they have started to receive more videos and are combing through the footage.
Officers used metal detectors as they searched through a wooded area in Jacksonville Beach Wednesday morning, hoping for any clue that could lead them to Bridegan’s killer.
“We have already done this several times, but we are going to go back again and make sure that nothing has been missed,” said Sgt. Tonya Tator, with Jacksonville Beach Police.
Neighbors have gotten used to the police presence in their neighborhood.
“We did hear a pretty loud sound,” recalled a neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous. “I think within a matter of minutes everyone was communicating it was a sound it was a shot, a gunshot and several of our neighbors went out and unfortunately saw the crime scene.”
Nailing down a time frame has been a challenge for detectives. Police have been urging homeowners to review their surveillance cameras. One neighbor’s surveillance camera captured the gunshots.
Bridegan was dropping off some of the children at their mother’s house nearby. Investigators found his black SUV, with his emergency flashers on and a spare tire in the road.
Detectives believe his death was a set up, saying he was shot in close range.
“I hope the police are successful in finding the perpetrator and, hopefully, the community rallies around the widow and the victim’s family,” said the neighbor.
Neighbors said they will feel safer once the killer is caught.
“People have come forward with information they may not have thought was important, but ended up being important and kind of the opposite of that where there’s been information where they did not think it would affect this investigation at all,” Tator added. “It is important, no matter what you think, if you have the victim’s vehicle on this video or your video system, to please call us and let us take a look and let us determine that because we know what we have so far and that is what the detectives will determine.”
Detectives opened up with News4JAX about the case on Tuesday, hoping to cultivate more tips. They met our crew at the scene of the crime to share new insight into what happened, saying for the first time that the shooting was “targeted.”