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Widow Sues After Deadly Carjacking At Short Hills Mall In New Jersey

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Dustin Friedland (credit: CBS 2)

Dustin Friedland (credit: CBS 2)

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NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The woman whose husband was shot and killed in a carjacking at the Short Hills Mall in New Jersey in December has filed a lawsuit.

Dustin Friedland was shot and killed in the parking lot of the mall on Dec. 15 of last year. His widow, Jamie Friedland, filed the wrongful death lawsuit this week in Newark Superior Court.

READ THE LAWSUIT

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. Jamie was unharmed, but Dustin was shot in the head and later died at an area hospital.

The mall owner, Michigan-based Taubman Centers Inc. and Short Hills Associates LLC, were named as defendants in the lawsuit filed Tuesday. Also listed were security contractors IPC International Corp. and Universal Protection Service LLC, mall general manager Michael McAvinue, and the Millburn-Short Hills Volunteer First Aid Squad.

The suit claimed that at the height of the holiday shopping season in mid-December, carjackers are on the prowl at the luxury mall. The suit accused the mall operators and security contractors of failing to keep the mall secure.

The suit also accused the First Aid Squad of taking an “excessive” amount of time to respond to a 911 call, in part because the ambulance was too big to get into the parking garage and thus, the first responders had to wheel a stretcher up a ramp for Friedland and then wheel him back down.

The lawsuit claimed further that the mall operators should have known a large vehicle such as an ambulance could not get into the parking garage.

Tapes of 911 calls released earlier this week suggested it may have taken an ambulance as long as 30 minutes to get to Friedland, 30, after he was shot during the carjacking.

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?”

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

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.

Sources said Friedland had been shot after a struggle ensued when the carjacking suspects allegedly demanded the keys to the Range Rover. 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.

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.

The suit was filed by attorney Bruce Nagel of Nagel Rice LLP. It seeks unspecified damages.

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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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