A Florida man was killed in an ‘ambush’ with his toddler in the car. Now the police have arrested the husband of his ex-wife

(CNN) Jared Brydgan was driving home with his 2-year-old daughter in the back seat when he hit a flat tire on the road, police in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, said.

Bridegan, 33, a senior design manager at Microsoft, stopped the car and got out to move the obstruction, police said, when he was fatally shot in February 2022.

On Thursday, authorities arrested and charged the husband of Brydgan’s ex-wife in what they called a “planned and targeted ambush and murder.”

Mario Fernandez-Saldana could now face the death penalty. He was arrested in Orlando and will be sent back to Jacksonville. As of Friday morning, it was unclear if he had secured an attorney.

On Thursday, he was arrested and charged by a Duval County grand jury with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, solicitation to commit a felony and child abuse in connection with the February 2022 slaying.

Prosecutors say Fernandez-Saldana, 34, “was an integral part of the inducement, conspiracy and murder of Brydon.”

They say they were led to him by another suspect in the case, whom Fernandez-Saldana encouraged to commit the crime and who admitted to pulling the trigger, State’s Attorney Melissa Nelson said at a press conference Thursday. This man had just pleaded guilty to his role in Brydon’s murder.

After Fernandez-Saldana was arrested, Brydon’s widow spoke at the same press conference on Thursday.

“We fought hard for the truth and now the world knows what we knew all along, that Jared really is an innocent victim,” said Kirsten Bryden. “We’re also still angry — angry that they walked free while we grappled with the reality that Jared wouldn’t be here for future memories, vacations or tender moments with our children.”

The child was found unharmed

According to Jacksonville Beach Police Chief Paul Smith, Brydgan had a weekly dinner with his twins, then 9, who are his children with his ex-wife, and his 2-year-old daughter, one of two young children with his second wife.

Bridegan had dropped the twins off at their mother’s home and was driving her 2-year-old home when she ran into the tire, according to the affidavit. Police believe the tire was deliberately placed there to make him stop.

Bridegan got out of the car to move the tire when he was “shot in cold blood,” Smith said. Nothing was taken from the vehicle, and the 2-year-old child was left in the car seat uninjured.

“This was a planned and targeted ambush and murder,” Smith said in announcing the first arrest in the case this January.

Police then arrested and charged Henry Tennon, 62, with conspiracy to commit murder, second-degree murder with a weapon, accessory after the fact and child abuse, State’s Attorney Melissa Nelson said at the time.

Jail records show Tennon has been in the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Department since August 2022 on unrelated charges.

Tenon pleaded guilty to second-degree murder with a weapon and agreed to “testify honestly against any accomplice” shortly before Fernandez-Saldana was arrested, state prosecutors said.

The affidavit in the case said Tenon was a tenant in a home owned by Fernandez-Saldana. Investigators found three checks written by Fernandez-Saldana to Tenon in October 2022. Phone records show the men had more than 60 phone calls to each other.

The affidavit said Bridegan had a “very acrimonious divorce” and a “contentious relationship” with his ex-wife and her second husband. But authorities have not released a possible motive.

Tenon’s attorney declined to comment.

CNN’s Jennifer Henderson, Rebecca Reese and Jamiel Lynch contributed to this report.

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