A Toms River native who was fatally shot in the head during a carjacking last month at The Mall at Short Hills received medical assistance almost immediately even though an ambulance didn't arrive until nearly 20 minutes later, officials said this week.
Dustin Friedland, 30, received "constant, professional, emergency medical care" as soon as the first police officer arrived at the scene at 9:09 p.m. Dec. 15, according to Millburn Police Chief Gregory Weber in a statement released Wednesday night to The Star-Ledger.
Friedland was shot in the head shortly after 9 p.m. when he and his wife, Jamie, returned to their 2012 Range Rover, the Essex County Prosecutor's Office said previously. Friedland later died at Morristown Medical Center at 11:45 p.m. that night.
According to Weber's statement, an Overlook Hospital paramedic arrived at the scene 10 minutes after the first officer. Weber also said the Millburn First Aid Squad's on-duty crew chief arrived in her own vehicle at about the same time at 9:19 p.m., the article said.
The ambulance arrived at 9:24 p.m. and Friedland was inside the ambulance at 9:31 p.m., Weber said.
Despite several requests, Patch has not received the chief's statement. Weber has also not returned Patch messages seeking comment since the incident.
The Millburn First Aid Squad has declined to comment and it remains unknown why it took the ambulance nearly 20 minutes to reach the mall. Weber said earlier this week it took 18 minutes for the ambulance to arrive.
Jamie Friedland claimed in a 911 call released to The Star-Ledger this week they had been waiting for about 30 minutes for the ambulance.
"Yes this is an emergency. I'm at the Short Hills mall parking lot. My husband has been shot," Friedland screamed to the dispatcher. "We called an ambulance a half an hour ago. Where is it?"Once the ambulance arrived, EMTs could not immediately reach Friedland because the emergency vehicle was too big to fit under the parking garage's low entrance ceiling.
However, Michael McAvinue, general manager of the mall, told Patch first aid workers were able to reach Friedland within "seconds" after arriving on scene.
“The ambulance parked at the mouth of the garage and it was seconds to get up to the level the incident was on,” McAvinue said. “The incident occurred on the first level above ground level and they went up the ramp and boom they were there. I have been here 14 years and there has never been any incident where we could not get first aid to someone."
McAvinue said the parking deck has a 7-foot clearance and there would not be any changes to the height in the future.
"The decks are what they are," McAvinue said. "There is a 7-foot clearance and the decks are not designed for commercial vehicles."
Authorities arrested four Essex County men on Dec. 20 and 21 who were charged in Friedland's death. Karif Ford, 31, Basim Henry, 32, and Kevin Roberts, 35 of Newark; and Hanif Thompson, 29, of Irvington, were charged with murder, felony murder, carjacking, conspiracy, possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose.
All four men pleaded not guilty last week in Superior Court.