SHORT HILLS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Authorities were offering a $10,000 reward Monday for two suspects wanted for shooting and killing a man in front of his wife during a carjacking at a mall in New Jersey.
As CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, prosecutors identified the victim Monday as Dustin Friedland, 30, of Hoboken.
Friedland’s silver Range Rover was found Monday morning behind an abandoned and boarded up house on Renner Avenue in Newark, about 11 miles from The Mall at Short Hills where the shooting took place, police said.
The vehicle was removed from the scene on a flatbed truck, its rear windshield shattered.
As CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported, around 9 p.m. Sunday, Friedland and his wife had just finished holiday shopping and had returned to their car on the third floor parking deck next to the Nordstrom store at the mall, Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray said.
As they were getting into their Range Rover, two men armed with a gun confronted the couple, Murray said.
“The victim had opened the door for his wife, she had started to get in the vehicle,” Murray said. “As he got to the driver’s side and started to get ready to enter the vehicle, he was approached by two males and was shot before he entered his vehicle.”
Friedland was shot in the head, Murray said. His wife was not injured.
“As soon as I opened the door and I was coming out of work I hear – boom, boom, boom, boom,” said mall employee Brittany Wilson. “As soon as I heard the first shot, I ducked.”
The two suspects then got into the Range Rover and took off, leaving Friedland and his wife behind, Murray said. Friedland was taken to an area hospital, where he later died.
“We do not know why that car,” Murray said. “It is obviously a car with some value, but we don’t have a reason.”
Sources said Range Rovers and Mercedes Benzes have been a favorite of thieves and that Friedland was probably targeted because of his car.
Sources also told CBS 2 exclusively that surveillance video cameras captured the scene after the tragedy. The Range Rover was seen speeding away, followed by a Chevrolet Suburban that was believed to be the car the two suspects drove to the mall.
Sources said the Suburban was also caught on tape before the shooting prowling around the mall, that alcohol bottles were discovered at the scene of the crime, and that those bottles may have contained DNA from the suspects.
“Before the police came, I just heard, like, a car, like, zooming out of the parking lot. Because it echoed, I could hear everything — I just heard, like… swerving,” Wilson said. “All I could do was duck. I was just ducking because I didn’t know who they were coming for.”
The mall features high-end stores such as Chanel and Tiffany & Co. It was closing at the time of the shooting.
On Monday, the carjacking and murder had shoppers, who packed the mall because of extended holiday hours, terrified. There has been a buddy-walking system with employees at Short Hills.
“I don’t even want to come in today,” said mall employee Anthony Wright.
Back in 2011, there was an attempted carjacking at the mall and another one at a train station several miles away.
Meanwhile, residents in the Newark neighborhood near the Renner Avenue site where the Range Roger was found said Monday morning was first time they saw had seen it. Tire marks showed how it was driven in so no one could see it.
Detectives searched the boarded-up house behind which the vehicle was dumped, but came up empty-handed.
Friedland and his wife, Jamie Schare Friedland, had just purchased and moved into a garden apartment in a Hoboken building, after renting for several years on River Street.
There was shock and sadness at the River Street apartment complex where Friedland lived for the past four years. He and his wife had just moved out two months ago and purchased an apartment nearby, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.
“It’s just a terrible tragedy,” said rental company vice president Joe Auriemma. “He was a wonderful young man and had a whole life ahead of him. From our perspective, we like to treat our tenants as if they’re family, and he certainly was a part of that.”
“It can just happen to anyone — that’s the worst part of it all,” added Ryan Florez. “So my prayers are out there to his family and friends. It’s heartbreaking.”
As CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported Monday afternoon, news of Friedland’s murder also shocked a waitress at one of the couple’s favorite restaurants — Zafra Kitchen on Willow Avenue in Hoboken.
“Oh my God — that’s so sad,” she said.
Friedland attended Law School in upstate New York at Syracuse University. After graduating, he went to work for a patent law firm in Westfield, N.J.
“He was just the most charming, delightful guy,” said Bruce Sales of Lerner, David, Littenberg, Krumholz & Mentlik, LLP. “My sympathies to his wife and his family, and the staff loves him; they were in tears, and some of them still are.”
Jamie Schare Friedland is also a lawyer, reportedly specializing in landlord-tenant law. Her boss told the New York Daily News the couple was talking about starting a family, and said: “She would just lighten up when he would walk in the room. She was so happy to be married.”
The Friedlands had just celebrated their second wedding anniversary in October.
The two suspects were still at large late Monday afternoon. The $10,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the case.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide/Major Crimes Task Force tips line at 1-877-847-7432.
The Short Hills carjacking was one of at least six armed carjacking incidents in north Jersey Sunday night, WCBS 880 reported.
No one was hurt in those incidents, but law enforcement sources told WCBS 880 that is an unusually high number for a Sunday evening.
And more than two hours earlier that same evening in nearby South Orange, the owner of a 2014 Land Rover was carjacked outside his home on Kilburn Place. Police said three masked men armed with guns robbed the owner of the SUV, but did not harm him.
The suspects then drove away with the Land Rover, followed by the Jeep Cherokee in which they pulled up.
Police were looking into whether the two crimes were connected.
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