A Hoboken man was shot by criminals attempting to jack his car at a mall on Sunday. The man wanted to protect his wife, who was sitting in the passenger’s side of the parked SUV.
A source told the New York Daily News that Dustin Friedland, a 30-year-old lawyer, “knew his wife was in there and he refused,” when carjackers approached him and demanded the keys to his car.
Friedland and his wife Jamie, 27, also a lawyer, had been shopping for gifts at the upscale Mall at Short Hills in New Jersey. He was about to get in to the driver’s seat of their 2012 Range Rover when the two men came up and demanded the keys.
“Then one of them comes to her door and says, ‘Get out of the car,’” the source said. “She got a look at him.”
Friedland stood his ground and four shots were fired, one of which resulting in his death.
Police said that the SUV, worth at least $70,000, was found Monday in the back of an abandoned house in Newark. CNN reported that Jamie Friedland likely fled in a panic. So did the suspects.
The sudden death has left those close to the couple stunned, especially due to the seeming senselessness of the shooting.
“Dustin was rational, intelligent and had great judgment,” Adam Leitman Bailey, Jamie Friedland’s boss at her law firm, told the Daily News. “I highly doubt that he fought the attackers to save his car. I do believe he would fight for his wife’s life.”
“He would never have done anything stupid, like grab for a gun — but I know he would not have hesitated to protect Jamie,” Jamie’s uncle, Dr. Mark Schare, told the New York Post. “He couldn’t do enough for her.”
Authorities have ramped up security on the mall since the shooting, though some are still nervous about doing their holiday shopping there.
“I definitely thought twice about coming here,” one mall-goer, Jacqueline Ford, told the Daily News.
The suspects drove a green Subaru and were seen driving through the parking lot searching out targets. They may be part of a ring of carjackers that had targeted Friedland’s car.
The Adam Leitman Bailey Law Firm has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible. Police ask that anyone with information about the culprits call the prosecutor’s office at 877-847-7432.