At a news conference Saturday morning, Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray said Hanif Thompson, 29, of Irvington; Karif Ford, 31, of Newark; Basim Henry, 32, of Newark; and Kevin Roberts, 33, of Newark, had all been charged in the Sunday attack.
They were all charged with murder, felony murder, carjacking, possession of a weapon, and carjacking. Bail was set at $2 million for each man.
Murray would not say which suspect fired the shot that killed Dustin Friedland, but said all four were present when his Range Rover was taken, 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern reported.
As CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported, Friedland’s wife issued a statement following the arrests Saturday saying, “We are very grateful to the Essex County police and all of the local authorities for pursuing this so vigorously.”
CBS 2 was the only station present as suspect Thompson was taken into custody in Irvington, following a SWAT team operation involving a battering ram.
Ford and Roberts were both arrested in Newark, while Henry was arrested by the FBI at a hotel in Easton, Pa., Murray said.
As WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported, Murray said round-the-clock detective work, along with tips, witnesses, and modern technology helped catch the four.
“Many of the leads that we received in this case came from our four most urban towns, and I believe that’s because the sheer senseless of this case outraged people from Millburn to Newark,” Murray said.
There was a $41,000 reward for the arrests. Murray did not indicate whether the reward played a role in the arrests.
Also at the news conference, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said authorities had worked hard to find the suspects, in order to ensure that the people of Essex County are safe.
“Whether you live in Essex County – or anywhere in New Jersey – work here, go to school here, or are just passing through, you deserve safety,” Fishman said. “You shouldn’t have to worry when you get in your car that someone is going to put a gun to your head. That is why we are working so closely with all levels of law enforcement to take these violent offenders off the streets and to make it clear these crimes will not be tolerated.”
In particular, he said, nobody should have to worry “that someone will put a gun into your head and take your car.”
In the early morning hours, Thompson was handcuffed and taken into custody by members of the Essex County Homicide Unit Task Force, with a plainclothes detective and a member of the SWAT team holding on to him tightly.
Thompson turned his head when CBS 2’s Christine Sloan asked him if he had anything to say, but did not comment.
The shooting happened last Sunday at the New Jersey mall. Friedland, 30, was fatally shot in front of his wife during a carjacking at the upscale facility.
A police helicopter hovered overhead, and dozens of officers closed off streets. News crews were kept back.
At one point, as CBS 2 was arriving on the scene, a sound that appeared to be shots fired was heard. But it later appeared that it may have been the sound of a battering ram to break down a door.
Members of the homicide task force, the Essex County Sheriff’s Department, and police descended up on the house where Thompson was arrested in Irvington shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday.
Right after the arrests, there were hugs, and a sense of pride and a sigh of relief. No officers were injured as they barged into the house near the corner of Myrtle Avenue and Stockman Place in Irvington.
Meanwhile, a large convoy of law enforcement vehicles was dispatched to the scene, covering every street corner just to be safe.
Memorial services for Friedland were held Wednesday at Beth Am Shalom synagogue in Lakewood, N.J.
Friedland and his wife were leaving The Mall at Short Hills Sunday night when they were confronted by two armed men as they were getting into their Range Rover on the third-floor parking deck, prosecutors said.
Sources told CBS 2’s Sloan that Friedland struggled with the suspects. It appeared he was protecting his wife because she was already in their luxury Range Rover SUV when the gun was put to his head.
Friedland’s Range Rover was seen speeding away on surveillance cameras, along with the Chevrolet Suburban the suspects drove to the mall. The Range Rover was found Monday morning at an abandoned and boarded-up house on Renner Avenue in Newark, about 11 miles from where the fatal shooting took place, with its rear windshield was shattered.
Sources said detectives knew who they were looking for and wanted to make sure they had enough evidence.
If convicted, all four suspects face life in prison.
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