SHORT HILLS - The panicked wife of a man shot in the head during a carjacking outside the Short Hills mall says she waited a half-hour for an ambulance to arrive.
The heartbreaking frustration can be heard in the voice of Dustin Friedland's wife on 911 calls first released Monday following the Dec. 15 incident.
On the tapes, she is pleading for help. "My husband has been shot,” she says. “We called the ambulance a half an hour ago, where is he?” A 911 operator replies, "They're there. They're at the mall. They're trying to get to you ma'am."
Reportedly, a low parking garage ceiling prevented the ambulance from getting to the victim, but it doesn't explain the reported 18-minute response time.
According to GPS, the drive from the ambulance company's headquarters to the mall is under 4 miles.
"It does seem pretty shocking," says Jennifer Levanchy, of Jersey City. "In a small town like this, they should be able to get to you pretty soon."
EMTs at the Millburn-Short Hills Volunteer First Aid Squad would not officially comment about normal response times, but did tell News 12 New Jersey that things do tend to be busier around the holidays.
Officials have not said whether a quicker ambulance arrival would have made a difference for the victim.
Four people were arrested in connection with the shooting death of Dustin Friedland, who is believed to have been targeted for his car.