Who Shot a Microsoft Executive in Front of His Toddler? 'There's a Monster Out There'

Jared Bridegan was shot multiple times on the side of the road on Feb. 16 while his 2-year-old was in her carseat

Photo: Jacksonville Beach Police Department

Friends of Jared Bridegan say you could always count on the Microsoft executive and 33-year-old father of four to help.

So it came as no surprise to anyone that when Jared spotted a discarded car wheel lying in the middle of the road while driving through a Jacksonville, Fla., neighborhood on Feb. 16, he stopped his SUV to investigate.

Bridegan had just dropped his 10-year-old twins at his ex-wife's home, and with his 2-year-old daughter Bexley buckled into her car seat, he ventured into the street. It was there that police — who arrived on the scene just minutes later — found him sprawled in the road, fatally shot multiple times at close range.

Police believe the tire was planted on the road so Jared would stop.

In the seven months since, the shock and mystery remain. Why would a killer target the tech professional, who was best known as a loving father and husband?

For more on the ever-evolving Jared Bridegan case, subscribe now to PEOPLE or pick up this week's issue, on newsstands Friday.

"He wasn't the type of person to have enemies," Jared's widow, Kirsten Bridegan, tells PEOPLE in its latest issue. "At first I thought it was random, and I was wracking my brain to figure out who would want him dead."

Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union/USA TODAY NETWORK

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Police continue to investigate the troubling case — and tell PEOPLE that they have not ruled anyone out as a suspect.

Shortly after the shooting, local media picked up on the contentious custody battle between Bridegan and his ex-wife, Shanna Gardner-Fernandez. Both Bridegan and Gardner-Fernandez filed several motions in court regarding the dispute.

Shanna Gardner-Fernandez.Bob Self/USA Today Network

Soon after, Gardner-Fernandez and her new husband hired a criminal defense attorney, even though they had not been named as suspects or persons of interests in Bridegan's death. A family spokesperson tells PEOPLE that the attorney was retained to limit the publication of the children's photos.

As the investigation continues, those who knew Bridegan are desperate for answers — and authorities say that they're following up on every tip they get. "We are looking at everything," an investigator tells PEOPLE. "There's a monster out there, and we will find out who did this."

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