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Media 'Wrong' About Response Time to Fatal Shooting, First Aid Official Says

The 2013 squad president said Dustin Friedland received immediate care following Dec. 15 carjacking at Short Hills mall.

Media reports saying it took a half-hour for an ambulance to respond last month to a fatal shooting at The Mall at Short Hills were "wrong," a first aid squad official said.

H. Steven Roth, the 2013 president of the Millburn-Short Hills Volunteer First Aid Squad, reiterated Millburn Police Chief Gregory Weber's timeline of events immediately after Dustin Friedland, 30, was shot during a carjacking in a parking garage at the mall on Dec. 15.

"The reports of some media that it took a half hour for an ambulance to arrive are wrong," Roth said in a statement released Wednesday night.

Friedland was shot in the head shortly after 9 p.m. when he and his wife, Jamie, returned to their 2012 Range Rover, the Essex County Prosecutor's Office said previously. Friedland later died at Morristown Medical Center at 11:45 p.m. that night.

"When someone calls 911, a police dispatcher quickly assesses the situation and determines what resources are needed," Roth said. "On the day of the shooting, an officer on patrol at the mall was on scene in about one minute after the 911 call. The officer was a trained emergency medical technician. The officer also needed to make sure the scene was safe before medical responders could enter."

According to Roth, an Overlook Hospital paramedic and a member of the Millburn-Short Hills first squad each arrived about 10 minutes after the shooting. Weber said the member of the first aid squad was the crew's on-duty chief who arrived in her own vehicle at 9:19 p.m.

Roth said the ambulance arrived five minutes later. This coincides with Weber's timeline that stated the ambulance reached the parking garage entrance at 9:24 p.m., 18 minutes after the shooting.

"Since the height of the garage was too low for access by a standard sized ambulance, the crew rushed a stretcher loaded with equipment to the victim," Roth said. "From the moments after his shooting, Mr. Friedland was in the care of highly trained people who stabilized him prior to being transported to the nearest trauma center."

Weber's statement released last week said Friedland was loaded into the ambulance at 9:31 p.m.

Media reports indicating it took up to 30 minutes for the ambulance to arrive were mainly based on Jamie Friedland's frantic 911 call obtained by The Star-Ledger.

"Yes this is an emergency. I'm at the Short Hills mall parking lot. My husband has been shot," Friedland screamed to the dispatcher. "We called an ambulance a half an hour ago. Where is it?"

The dispatcher responded by saying, "They're on their way, ma'am. They're on their way."

"When? When? When?" Friedland shouted back. "Give me a time!" 

The 60-member volunteer first aid squad responded to nearly 1,500 calls in 2013, according to Roth, who said they are "saddened that the actions of the responders that December night could not save Mr. Friedland."

Authorities arrested four Essex County men on Dec. 20 and 21 who were charged in Friedland's death. Karif Ford, 31, Basim Henry, 32, and Kevin Roberts, 35 of Newark; and Hanif Thompson, 29, of Irvington, were charged with murder, felony murder, carjacking, conspiracy, possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose.

All four men pleaded not guilty earlier this month in Superior Court.

JohnJay January 28, 2014 at 01:01 AM
I KNOW THE AREA Most of the personal aren't rite around the corner, from the station ! So 15 to get to the station, wait for a partner, light to mall maybe 8- 10 minutes, So 30 minutes can't be ruled out !! OPPS, should have taken the MINI VAN UNIT, NOT THE FREIGHTLINER CAB UNIT ?? DOPE'S
Chris Kelley March 25, 2014 at 11:10 PM
#1 Rule in EMS - Your own safety. Public opinion is moot. Forget they're volunteers. Forget it's a lawyer that's been shot. You're dispatched for a shooting in a parking garage. This could happen anywhere, it could be a structure, it could be along the road in Mayberry RFD. You've just told your responders, to get there, get there fast, don't hold back, save a life. Boom. Boom. Boom. You crew has been killed by gun fire. Nobody can help anyone. You've failed your scenario, consider a career at McDonalds, instead. - In all seriousness, though. Do you want to have them rush into the scene of a shooting? I don't think those are the types of calls you'd want EMS jumping into, not that they did that - I'm just saying, since they want faster response. Suppose they were waiting down the block for PD. Would they be wrong?
Chris Kelley March 26, 2014 at 02:50 PM
And? What would you suggest? A Cadillac Ambulance? The people who built it probably knew an ambulance wouldn't fit as well. The people who park in there, could probably figure it out by deductive reasoning. Always looking to blame people, and make someone else pay for your own grief. The Squad didn't shoot the victim. He died from a GSW to the head, not because the ambulance wouldn't fit in the parking garage.

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