For almost a year, Jared Bridegan’s family anxiously waited for authorities to track down whoever was responsible for fatally shooting the 33-year-old Microsoft executive as he tried to move a tire in the middle of a quiet residential Florida road—with his toddler still in the car.
On Wednesday, that day finally came, with Jacksonville authorities announcing the arrest of Henry Tenon. He was charged with several crimes, including conspiracy to commit murder, second-degree murder with a weapon, accessory after the fact to a capital felony, and child abuse.
Authorities did not give any details about the evidence that led to Tenon’s arrest, his alleged motive for the murder, or any relationship between him and Bridegan. However, State Attorney Melissa Nelson stressed, “We know that Henry Tenon did not act alone.”
Nelson said their investigation is ongoing and active, and Tenon’s arrest warrant will remain sealed for 30 days. He will have an initial appearance in Duval County Court next week, where Nelson said her team will keep a grand jury indictment for first-degree murder.
Jail records indicate that Tenon has been locked up at the John E. Goode Pre-Trial Detention Facility since Aug. 18, 2022, after he was arrested for possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, driving while his license was suspended or revoked, and unlawful speeding.
Authorities say that on Feb. 16, 2022, Bridegan came upon a tire in the middle of the road as he was on his way back home to St. Augustine after dropping off his twins from a previous marriage at his ex-wife’s house. Leaving his two-year-old daughter in the backseat of his Volkswagen Atlas to briefly move the obstacle, Bridegan was shot multiple times.
Bridegan’s unharmed toddler, one of two daughters he shares with his wife Kirsten Bridegan, was still strapped into her car seat when a passerby drove by about three minutes later. When police arrived, they noted that his car’s emergency lights were flashing and the tire was still in the middle of the road. Bridegan was lying next to his open driver’s door.
“This was a planned and targeted ambush and murder. The ruthless homicide has pained our community,” Jacksonville Beach Police Chief Gean Paul Smith said during a Wednesday press conference. “He was gunned down in cold blood.”
The arrest marks the first major development into what authorities previously called the “targeted” slaying of Bridegan, a senior design manager whose friends and family described as “the last person to have any enemies.” However, the case also pulled back the curtain on the Mormon dad’s complicated life, including his contentious previous marriage and divorce, and pushed his ex-wife into the line of fire for tabloid gossip.
Immediately after Bridegan’s death, as media attention focused on his past relationship, authorities were desperately looking for any information on a dark-colored 2004 to 2008 Ford F-150 pickup truck seen near the scene.
As previously reported by The Daily Beast, Bridegan and his ex-wife, Shanna Gardner-Fernandez, had a bitter divorce in February 2015 after six years together—which resulted in about 300 entries and motions in St. Johns County court. The filings ranged from accusations of financial and mental manipulation to arguments about what school their twin daughters should attend.
Gardner-Fernandez and the twins moved to Washington amid media scrutiny. A spokesperson for Gardner-Fernandez and her husband, Mario, declined to immediately comment on Wednesday’s developments. Gardner-Fernandez has previously denied any wrongdoing.
After the combative divorce in 2015, friends and family of the “incredibly positive and incredibly kind” Bridegan told The Daily Beast that his main priorities were his children and moving on with his life.
“His focus was on his children,” Nate Sanders, who hired Bridegan as a user experience designer for Utah software company Canopy in 2015, said in July. “And everything he ever talked about revolved around [them].”
After matching with Kirsten Bridegan in early 2017 on a dating app, the pair quickly became inseparable and got married in October of that year. Living in Florida to be close to Bridegan’s twins, Kirsten explained that as part of the custody agreement they got the girls every other week. During off weeks, the Bridegans would see the twins on Wednesdays for “date night.”
“It usually consisted of a dinner and a quick activity like…dessert, and then the parent would drop the kids back off at the other parent’s house,” Kirsten previously explained to The Daily Beast, noting that her husband was returning home from one of those “date nights” when he was fatally shot.
The now-widow told The Daily Beast in July that she was on the phone with her brother when Bridegan called, telling her he and their daughter were on the way home after a “good night” with the twins. Kirsten, who was at home with their other seven-month-old daughter that night, said Bridegan ended the short conversation by saying he was “almost home.”
“Now I know that within a few minutes, he was killed,” Kirsten said in July. “The next time somebody answered Jared’s phone, it was a police officer…who told me to come to the Jacksonville Beach Police Department.”
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