Duval County

‘He was a great dad’: Community rallies behind family of father who was shot and killed

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Beach community rallied around the family of a local father who was shot and killed two months ago.

No one has been arrested for the murder of Jared Bridegan.

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On Tuesday night, family, friends and community members came together for a vigil.

His widow, Kirsten Bridegan, said she has felt lost and alone since her husband was murdered, but the community that gathered for the vigil is helping her to get through her pain.

“He was a great dad. The best dad. We’re gonna miss him,” Kirsten said.

After 33-year-old Jared Bridegan was murdered, his wife was not sure where to turn. She had been left alone with her two-year-old daughter who watched Jared Bridegan get shot.

“Well, she has ups and downs. She’s strong though. She’s the strongest girl I know and she’s only two,” Kirsten said.

Tonight, surrounded by candlelight and worship, the community gathered together to honor the legacy of Jared Bridegan.

“It has given me a sense of strength that I’m not alone,” Kirsten said.

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The vigil was planned by three women who didn’t know Kirsten and Jared. They felt a calling to support their community.

“The three of us bonded together after that and decided we were going to take action and support a stranger,” said Erin Frauenheim, one of the organizers.

Jared’s siblings echoed the emotion Kirsten felt.

“It’s amazing to see the community rally around to help bring him justice,” said Adam Bridegan, Jared’s brother.

They wanted the vigil to send a message.

“There’s still a killer out there in our community,” Adam said.

The Jacksonville Beach police have been searching for leads for two months now. So far, no answers have been found.

“I have a lot of faith in the detectives working this,” Kirsten said. “It’s just frustrating that things take time. This is not a TV show. Things don’t get solved in 60 minutes. It takes time and that’s hard.”

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The family wants justice for Jared, his wife and his four kids.

“Not only was he murdered in a terrible instance but his daughter was present and she was alone. It’s horrifying,” Adam said.

There is one thing Kirsten said is getting her through.

“Jared. It might sound weird to people but I feel him with me. And I think that’s the only reason why I’ve been able to talk to so many people,” she said.

Something Kirsten made clear is that she believes multiple people were involved and she wants the message out there so answers can be found.