Around 9 p.m. on Sunday night, Dustin Friedland was shot and killed by carjackers as he and his wife Jamie left the upscale Short Hills Mall in New Jersey. The couple had been out Christmas shopping, and reports say that the 30-year-old was fatally shot in front of his wife before the attackers drove off in their Range Rover.

On Monday, a source close to the investigation claimed that Dustin died trying to protect his wife. This person said that he had “just let his beloved Jamie into their luxury SUV and was walking around to the driver’s side when he was ambushed by two crooks who demanded the keys ... ‘he knew his wife was in there and he refused,’ the source said.”

Even though Dustin has been described as a man who avoided violence, at least one person said he would do whatever it took to protect his wife. Jamie’s boss at the Manhattan law firm where she worked said Dustin would’ve “fought like a lion” for her:

Dustin was rational, intelligent, and had great judgment,” said Adam Leitman Bailey. “I highly doubt that he fought the attackers to save his car. I do believe he would fight for his wife’s life ... She would just light up when he would walk in the room ... She was so happy to be married.”

The law firm is offering a $10,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of those responsible for this senseless crime.

Authorities suspect that the carjackers targeted the 2012 vehicle, which is estimated to be worth about $70,000.

“Dustin would have given them the car,” said one friend, who asked not to be identified. “Dustin was sweet, kind, gentle, giving. I just can't believe God took him away so soon. He didn't deserve it."

The car was found abandoned Monday morning and is being searched by crime investigators for clues that could lead to the capture of the culprits.

Ugh -- what terrible story! My heart breaks for this young couple, and I hope the police catch the people responsible for this deadly crime.

Would you risk your life to protect a loved one?


Image via Gideon Tsang/Flickr