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Millburn Police Chief Defends Response To Fatal Carjacking At Short Hills Mall

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Dustin Friedland (credit: CBS 2)

Dustin Friedland (credit: CBS 2)

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MILLBURN, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Police are responding to accusations of a slow emergency response in last month’s deadly carjacking at an upscale New Jersey mall.

Tapes of 911 calls released earlier this week suggested it may have taken an ambulance as long as 30 minutes to get to 30-year-old Dustin Friedland after he was shot during a carjacking in a parking garage at the Short Hills mall on Dec. 15.

The wait was so long that Friedland’s wife made a frantic call to 911 herself, begging for help.

“Yes, it’s an emergency!” Jamie Friedland said in the call, screaming. “I’m at the Short Hills mall parking lot, and my husband has been shot! He called an ambulance a half an hour ago! Where is he?”

Millburn Police Chief Gregory Weber said in a statement that the young lawyer received medical treatment within minutes of the shooting.

“Mr. Friedland received constant, professional, emergency medical care from the time the first police officer arrived at 9:09 p.m,” Weber said. Prosecutors have said the shooting occurred shortly after 9 p.m.

Weber said the Millburn-Short Hills Volunteer First Aid Squad’s on-duty crew chief drove to the scene in her own vehicle within 10 minutes. The first ambulance arrived 14 minutes after the first 911 call and Weber said Friedland was placed in the ambulance by 9:31 p.m.

Friedland died at a hospital.

On Monday, Weber said police arrived within one minute of the initial call. About 18 minutes passed before an ambulance arrived at the scene, but it had trouble getting to Friedland because it couldn’t fit beneath a low ceiling. Crews eventually wheeled a stretcher up to the level where Friedman was shot.

The Friedlands were leaving the upscale shopping center when they were confronted by two armed men as they were getting into their 2012 Range Rover on the third-floor parking deck, prosecutors said.

A struggle ensued when the men allegedly demanded the keys to the SUV, authorities said. Dustin Friedland may have been trying to protect his wife, who was already in the vehicle when the suspects put a gun to his head, sources said.

Dustin Friedland was shot in the head. Jamie was unharmed.

The Range Rover was found the next morning at an abandoned, boarded-up house on Renner Avenue in Newark, about 11 miles from where the fatal shooting took place. Its rear windshield was shattered.

Prosecutors have said the couple was targeted because of their expensive vehicle.

Hanif Thompson, 29, of Irvington; Karif Ford, 31, of Newark; Basim Henry, 32, of Newark; and Kevin Roberts, 33, of Newark, are all charged with murder, felony murder, carjacking, conspiracy, possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose. They all pleaded not guilty last week.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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