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UPDATE: Mourners Pack Funeral, Pay Tribute To Toms River Victim In Short Hills Carjacking

Dustin and Jamie Friedland (Facebook photo)
Dustin and Jamie Friedland (Facebook photo)
Mourners packed the funeral for Dustin Friedland, the Toms River man
gunned down in a carjacking at the Mall at Short Hills on Sunday
night.

The Wednesday morning service at Temple Beth Am Shalom was so well
attended that the shoulder of Route 70 in Lakewood was blocked off so friends and loved ones could enter.

Cars - row after row of them - parked on grassy areas off the highway and police cars could be seen directing traffic inside the parking lot.

Funeral services were held Wednesday for the 30-year-old Toms River native and Hoboken attorney, killed in a carjacking outside The Mall at Short Hills Sunday night, who was athletic and "made life better for everyone around him." 

Arrangements are under the direction of The Family owned Carmona-Bolen Home for Funerals, 412 Main St, Toms River. Condolences can be sent to: http://carmonabolenfh.com.

Friedland was shot in the head when he and his wife returned to their SUV shortly after 9 p.m. Sunday, according to the Essex County Prosecutor's Office.

Friedland was pronounced dead at 11:45 p.m. Sunday at Morristown Medical Center. His wife was not injured but also transported to the hospital, the prosecutor's office said.

His Facebook page said he was a graduate of Toms River North High School and a 2006 graduate of Bucknell University.

Nick Malfitano, a Patch writer who was Friedland's classmate at Toms River North, said Friedland was "a good man and a great classmate of mine at Toms River North who made life better for everyone around him."

He said he was "intelligent, funny and always ready with a smile and a laugh."

Edward Keller, principal of Toms River North, was not principal when Friedland attended, but he noted he was an avid swimmer and rower.

"We’re all, of course, shocked and saddened by what happened," he said. "When we found out it was one of our alumni, it really hit home.

He said people speak highly of him, and say he was "a great kid, the kind of kid who really went with the flow."

The Asbury Park Press reported that in 1999, Friedland was named Eagle Scout for Troop 29 in Toms River and in 2002, the 19-year-old Friedland posed as George Washington for an America’s Day celebration at the Pine Beach Elementary School.

He competed in the N.J. Rowing Championship in 2001, and as a swimmer, placed third in the Toms River North-Brick Memorial 500-yard freestyle meet in 2000, according to Press files, as reported Monday.

More recently, Friedland had been a member of the Hoboken Harriers Running Club. Running club members expressed shock and offered their condolences Monday on the group's Facebook page.

"He was such a nice guy," HOHA member Joe DeFlora wrote. "He and his wife were only married a short time. She must be devastated."

Friedland, a 2009 grad of Syracuse Law School, was a project manager/estimator at Neptune-based Epic Mechanical Inc., according to his LinkedIn profile.

The shooting briefly placed the mall on lockdown as a precaution, according to ABC News. The lockdown was lifted at approximately 10 p.m. Sunday when officials determined the shooting was an isolated incident and not a shooting inside the mall.

Access to the parking garage's fifth level was blocked off Monday. A guest services representative would not say whether security was increased since the shooting, but said the mall "has excellent security out there everyday, as well as members of the Millburn police department."

Michael J. McAvinue, the mall's general manager, said they would consider reviewing their procedures in the aftermath of the shooting, according to NJ.com.

Some shoppers said Monday the incident isn't going to stop them from returning to the mall.

One woman, who declined to be identified, said she and her husband shop the mall a few times a week.

"It's a great place," she said.

She said Sunday night's incident could have happened anywhere and added, "if anything, I feel safer today than any other time I have been here because of all the security here today."

The shooting outside The Mall at Short Hills comes just more than a month after a black-clad man armed with a .22 caliber rifle opened fire in the Garden State Plaza in Paramus.

The chaotic scene there forced officials to swarm en masse to the locked-down shopping plaza in an effort to hunt down 20-year-old Richard Shoop, of Teaneck.

Shoop did not appear intent on injuring anyone during his slow-paced walk among frenzied mall shoppers, according to Bergen County officials, who said he fired several rounds into the air before taking his own life inside a mall store.

Sunday's fatal carjacking may be related to a car-theft ring that has recently struck the tri-state area, The New York Post reportedMonday.

The gunmen didn’t target Friedland specifically, an unnamed source told The Post. More than likely they were simply after his $65,000 Range Rover, he said.

In July, a couple in a high-end Maserati was carjacked at gunpoint on Watchung Avenue in Chatham, approximately 2 miles from The Mall at Short Hills.

A number of carjackings have occurred in recent memory at the mall, including one in 2009, one in 2006, and another in 2002, according to NJ.com.

The Essex County Crime Stopper's Program is offering a $10,000 reward for any information on Sunday night's killing, according to the prosecutor's office. No arrests have been made.

If anyone has any information or tips on Sunday night's incident, call the Essex County Prosecutor's Office Homicide/Major Crimes Task Force line at 1-877-847-7432.

Joseph Gerace, Dan Nee and Zak Koeske contributed to this story.
Joe Zeamhin December 18, 2013 at 08:09 PM
Damn i hope every police resource is utilized to find these sub human murderers. Im not a religious person but even I believe only God has the right to take a life. Why couldnt these monsters just take the car and leave. Many prayers to the family and Dustin.
barbara December 18, 2013 at 08:31 PM
So heartbreaking, so sad.....makes me sick to my stomach. Yep Joe, I ask the same question.....frigging low life trash. So hope someone rats them out....
ed mays December 18, 2013 at 09:14 PM
I hope there is a police shootout and these human garbage get blasted to hell where they belong.
Cardinal December 18, 2013 at 10:03 PM
I wouldn't be surprised if this was part of a major luxury stolen car ring rather than some punk kids randomly doing this. I hope the police are checking all the freight containers at the ports and keep checking. Keep the pressure ON until they find some connection that will lead to these animals.
Michael December 19, 2013 at 06:13 AM
To the killers; : I will execute great vengeance on them with wrathful rebukes. Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I lay my vengeance upon them.” . May God rest Dustin in peace and watch over his loved ones.

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