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Short Hills Mall Carjacking Victim Always Had a 'Smile and a Laugh'

Dustin Friedland, 30, a Hoboken attorney, was killed in parking garage and his SUV was recovered Monday in Newark.

Dustin and Jamie Friedland (Facebook photo)
Dustin and Jamie Friedland (Facebook photo)
The man shot and killed during a carjacking outside The Mall at Short Hills Sunday night has been identified as a Hoboken attorney who was athletic and "made life better for everyone around him."

Dustin Friedland, 30, was shot in the head when he and his wife returned to their SUV shortly after 9 p.m. Sunday, the prosecutor's office said. Friedland was pronounced dead at 11:45 p.m. Sunday at Morristown Medical Center. His wife was not injured but also transported to the hospital, the prosecutor's office said.

Friedland was fatally shot after struggling with the two carjackers, anonymous law enforcement officials told NJ.com. Friedland's wife was then ordered out of the vehicle before the two thieves drove off—one in the couple's silver Range Rover and a second man in a green sport utility vehicle, the sources told NJ.com.

The couple's Range Rover was recovered Monday morning on the 200 block of Renner Avenue in Newark, the prosecutor's office said.

Friedland, who lived in Hoboken, was originally from Toms River, according to his Facebook page.

Nick Malfitano, a Patch writer who was Friedland's classmate at Toms River North, said Friedland was "a good man and a great classmate of mine at Toms River North who made life better for everyone around him."

He said he was "intelligent, funny and always ready with a smile and a laugh."

Edward Keller, principal of Toms River North, was not principal when Friedland attended, but he noted he was an avid swimmer and rower.

"We’re all, of course, shocked and saddened by what happened," he said. "When we found out it was one of our alumni, it really hit home."

He said people speak highly of Friedland, saying he was "a great kid, the kind of kid who really went with the flow."

The Asbury Park Press reported that in 1999, Friedland was named Eagle Scout for Troop 29 in Toms River, and in 2002, the then-19-year-old Friedland posed as George Washington for an America’s Day celebration at the Pine Beach Elementary School.

He competed in the N.J. Rowing Championship in 2001, and as a swimmer, placed third in the Toms River North-Brick Memorial 500-yard freestyle meet in 2000, according to Press files, as reported Monday.

More recently, Friedland had been a member of the Hoboken Harriers Running Club. Running club members expressed shock and offered their condolences Monday on the group's Facebook page.

"He was such a nice guy," HOHA member Joe DeFlora wrote. "He and his wife were only married a short time. She must be devastated."

Friedland, a 2009 grad of Syracuse Law School, was a project manager/estimator at Neptune-based Epic Mechanical Inc., according to his LinkedIn profile.

The shooting briefly placed the mall on lockdown as a precaution, according to ABC News. The lockdown was lifted at approximately 10 p.m. Sunday when officials determined the shooting was an isolated incident and not a shooting inside the mall.

Access to the parking garage's fifth level was blocked off Monday. A guest services representative would not say whether security was increased since the shooting, but said the mall "has excellent security out there everyday, as well as members of the Millburn police department."

Michael J. McAvinue, the mall's general manager, said they would consider reviewing their procedures in the aftermath of the shooting, according to NJ.com.

Some shoppers said Monday the incident isn't going to stop them from returning to the mall.

One woman, who declined to be identified, said she and her husband shop the mall a few times a week.

"It's a great place," she said.

She said Sunday night's incident could have happened anywhere and added, "if anything, I feel safer today than any other time I have been here because of all the security here today."

The shooting outside The Mall at Short Hills comes just more than a month after a black-clad man armed with a .22 caliber rifle opened fire in the Garden State Plaza in Paramus.

The chaotic scene there forced officials to swarm en masse to the locked-down shopping plaza in an effort to hunt down 20-year-old Richard Shoop, of Teaneck.

Shoop did not appear intent on injuring anyone during his slow-paced walk among frenzied mall shoppers, according to Bergen County officials, who said he fired several rounds into the air before taking his own life inside a mall store.

Sunday's fatal carjacking may be related to a car-theft ring that has recently struck the tri-state area, The New York Post reported Monday.

The gunmen didn’t target Friedland specifically, an unnamed source told The Post. More than likely they were simply after his $65,000 Range Rover, he said.

In July, a couple in a high-end Maserati was carjacked at gunpoint on Watchung Avenue in Chatham, approximately 2 miles from The Mall at Short Hills.

A number of carjackings have occurred in recent memory at the mall, including one in 2009, one in 2006, and another in 2002, according to NJ.com.

The Essex County Crime Stopper's Program is offering a $10,000 reward for any information on Sunday night's killing, according to the prosecutor's office. No arrests have been made.

If anyone has any information or tips on Sunday night's incident, call the Essex County Prosecutor's Office Homicide/Major Crimes Task Force line at 1-877-847-7432.

Joseph Gerace, Dan Nee and Zak Koeske contributed to this story.
Nile west January 05, 2014 at 08:46 AM
Cranky fake,I'm confused did you say developmentally disable was your giving name and you dislike it so much you change it it cranky fake?To your bimbo chick Janie the only disease that's being spread is the vaginitis between her legs , main reason she smells like garbage.Sit on that bird cranky fake suffers from erectile dysfunction this why he has so much time to be on the blogs
Cranky Fake January 05, 2014 at 08:51 AM
Young Nile must be on his Gynecological rotation this week. Last week it was Psychological rotation that allowed him to offer up all the suggested medications for @2nd and I. (although I do believe Nile must have some experience with anti-psychotic medication) @Janie D. at this point you probably realize Nile is a piece of garbage and some of us on this forum are having a little fun with him/her. These exchanges have been so one sided, they could hardly be called pi**ing matches. In order to keep this comment on the topic of the senseless murder and the subsequent apprehension of 4 individuals (that were smart enough to use one of their mother's cars for the getaway): Many of the comments on this thread were about the animals that killed the victim. Then young Nile comes along to share why these poor "misguided" African American men, had no choice but to act the way they did, because of slavery, unemployment, racism, the system, and so forth. Needless to say a few folks took issue with that and here we are.

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