After shopping at the upscale Short Hills Mall on Dec. 16, a 30-year-old man was shot in the head when unidentified suspects approached him and his wife in the parking garage to hijack their car.
Dustin Friedland, had just let his beloved spouse Jamie into their luxury SUV, packed with holiday gifts. He was walking around to the driver’s side when two crooks ambushed him and demanded his keys. The fearless Hoboken attorney resisted — and in the struggle four shots were fired, one of which mortally wounded Friedland, police said, reports the NY Daily News.
Police say two men drove off in the couple’s silver Range Rover. The suspects spared the life of Friedland’s wife and she escaped the incident unharmed. Although emergency crews arrived at the scene of the Short Hills Mall shooting rather quickly, Friedland was pronounced dead at Morristown Memorial Hospital a few hours later.
The SUV, worth at least $70,000, was found Monday morning in Newark, on a residential street in the city’s southern section a few blocks from Interstate 78, about eight miles from the mall.
Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray shared details on the Short Hills Mall shooting incident and according to her, Friedland received a bullet in the head after he resisted the carjackers.
“It obviously was a car with some value,” Murray stated. “Our police department is out there and I’m sure they’re doing everything that needs to be done.”
The suspects were scoping out potential targets while cruising through the parking lot in a green Subaru shortly before they attacked Friedland around 9 p.m. Sunday, officials said.
Michael J. McAvinue, the mall’s general manager, declined to comment on the shooting, which he said remains an active police investigation.
“Our number one priority is the safety of our customers and our store employees, and we are doing everything we can to cooperate with police,” McAvinue said.
When asked about mall security, McAvinue said the shopping center officials would consider reviewing procedures in response to the shooting.
Meanwhile, heartbroken relatives described the 30-year-old Friedland as a sensible man who would have avoided violence if at all possible. But Jamie Friedland’s boss at the Manhattan law firm where she’s an attorney said he would have fought like a lion for her.
“Dustin was rational, intelligent and had great judgment,” said Adam Leitman Bailey. “I highly doubt that he fought the attackers to save his car. I do believe he would fight for his wife’s life.”
“He was always so intrigued by my ideas,” Stanin said this afternoon, fighting back tears. “He would always walk by and give me advice about how to brand my business, and if I ever needed any help. He was just such a nice guy.”
Friedland and his wife, who apparently met each other in Syracuse, were married in October 2011. The couple had no children.
The Short Hills Mall shooting is currently under investigation and police are looking for the suspects. A local anti-crime organization is even offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to their arrest and conviction.