The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

December 18, 2013

New Jersey murder victim was 2006 graduate of Bucknell University

LEWISBURG — LEWISBURG — The brutal murder Sunday night of an attorney who had gone Christmas shopping with his wife at a New Jersey mall shocked the nation, but even more so the Bucknell University community when it learned the victim, Dustin Friedland, 30, was a 2006 graduate.

Friedland, a mechanical engineering student who went on to Syracuse law school, seemingly had it all: He married in 2011 and had just bought his first home.

“Everything was going so well,” said Keith Buffinton, Bucknell’s dean of the College of Engineering and someone who had worked closely with Friedland on his senior design project. “And then this happened.”

Friedland was shot to death in the parking garage at the Mall at Short Hills New Jersey as his wife, Jamie Schare Friedland, looked on. The assailants then stole the Friedlands’ silver Range Rover.

The two assailants then drove off in their luxury sport utility vehicle.

When Buffinton first heard, “I felt that pain in the pit of my stomach. I heard the name and I knew exactly who it was. Bad things happen to good people, I know that. But this, someone I knew, seemed so senseless, horrific and incomprehensible.”

Friedland was a great person, a good student, and someone who worked very well with others, Buffinton said.

“I talked with him at our fifth-year reunion,” Buffinton said. “Dustin said he was working in the field of intellectual properties and liked it very much. So much promise. What a horrible thing to happen. It makes you want to hug your own kids and be even more protective.”

Police said Friedland’s Range Rover was recovered Monday morning in a residential neighborhood in Newark, about 10 miles away from the mall. Two carjackers were at large, and a local anti-crime group was offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to their arrest and conviction.

Mall general manager Michael McAvinue said in an email Monday: “We were shocked and saddened by the incident that took place (Sunday) night at Short Hills. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families involved. Our shopping center is working closely with local law enforcement to support their efforts with this tragic incident.”

Sunday’s encounter was the latest in a troubling pattern in Essex County, whose borders encompass crime-plagued Newark to the east as well as Short Hills and other affluent suburbs to the west.

Carjackings have risen steeply in past years, leading authorities to create a multi-agency task force three years ago after a spate of crimes that included brazen daytime attacks and the carjacking of a snowplow two days after a Christmas blizzard.

The partnership succeeded in arresting and prosecuting three groups responsible for most of the carjackings, and the crime rate fell temporarily. Since then, it has ticked up, with 416 last year in Essex County, a 44 percent increase from 2010.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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