//judge esther salas new jersey son murdered

US District Judge Esther Salas’s Son Murdered, Husband Shot

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Jul. 20 2020, Updated 4:31 p.m. ET

The son of U.S. District Judge Esther Salas was murdered at their home in North Brunswick, New Jersey last night.

According to reports this morning, at around 5 PM a suspect appeared at her home dressed as a FedEx delivery driver. He then proceeded to start firing shots at Judge Salas’s husband (and then her son, as he reportedly came to the door). While Judge Salas was in the basement at the time, her son Daniel Anderl was killed.

Her husband, Mark Anderl, was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Medical Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey with gunshot wounds. Once there, he underwent surgery and was said to be in stable condition. 

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According to a recent update on NJ.com a manhunt is currently underway by the FBI for the suspect. While there has not been an official description of him released, the fact that he dressed as a FedEx delivery man is the main thing that is known about him thus far. 

Statements Released

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal tweeted about this awful incident, stating that “We’re shocked by this horrific and violent act, and @NewJerseyOAG and @NJSP offer our full investigative support to our federal partners. We express our deepest sympathies to Judge Salas and her family, and to all who are grieving in the aftermath of this tragedy.”

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New Jersey’s Governor Phil Murphy– who has come under some scrutiny for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, even though New Jersey is one fo the few states that is on track to contain the virus currently- also commented on the ordeal. He issued a tweet that read “Judge Salas and her family are in our thoughts at this time as they cope with this senseless act.”

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New Jersey’s previous Governor, Chris Christie, also took to Twitter to comment on this tragedy. He stated that “As US Attorney I had the joy to work w/Judge Ester Salas when she was a member of the Federal Public Defender’s Office. She’s a great Judge and an extraordinary person. Mary Pat & I pray for her, her husband Mark and their dear son Daniel. What an unspeakable tragedy and loss.”

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While serving her time as a Judge- notably the first Hispanic woman to ever be appointed to the U.S. District Court in New Jersey, having been nominated by former President Barack Obama– has handled some very high profile cases in her time serving. One of the most famous was that of Real Housewives of New Jersey stars Teresa and Joe Giudice. While their fates were unknown prior to them entering her courtroom, Judge Salas was the one who ultimately decided they both would serve time in prison. 

Neighbors of Judge Salas Speak Out

NJ.com also spoke to neighbors of the Salas family regarding last night’s incident. One neighbor, Marion Costanza, told NJ.com that “I had fallen asleep reading around 3 p.m. and woke up suddenly. Something woke me up. I swear to God I thought I heard a shot. I thought it’s not the Fourth of July.”

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Having been a longtime friend of the family, she went on to lament that “She [Judge Salas] was devastated when her son left for college — I think for a week she cried, so can you imagine this permanent loss? I can’t even imagine as a mother and a grandmother, what it would be like to lose your only child.”

Another neighbor they spoke with, Wenfeng Zhang, said he had heard people “talking loudly” and then a “bang bang.”

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The Mayor’s Statement

We reached out to North Brunswick’s Mayor, Janice Larkin, who told us that “There are no words that can express the feelings of sadness and loss we share as a community after the senseless shootings of the husband and son of US District Court Judge, the Honorable Esther Salas. We commit to do all we can to support the family in this time of need, as well as support the law enforcement agencies dedicated to bringing those involved in this horrific crime to justice.”

Teresa’s Statement

Via her attorney, James Leonard Jr., Teresa released the following statement to USA Today: “Teresa was very shaken by the news and was very emotional when she heard about it. She told me that would be praying very heavily for Judge Salas and her family. This is absolutely devastating.”

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Suspect Found

In the latest update via CNN, the suspect has been found; however, as CNN notes, the suspect appears to have killed himself.

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CNN also notes that it is not known at this time if the suspect- whose name they have not released yet- actually worked for FedEx or was posing as an employee.

UPDATE: News has broken on NBC New York that they believe the suspect to be Roy Den Hollander, an attorney who they note is “a notoriously anti-feminist men’s rights attorney.” The report goes on to note that in one of the books he wrote, Hollander called out Judge Salas as “lazy and incompetent.” He had appeared before her as a lawyer in a lawsuit regarding the all-male military draft. 

While a specific motive is unknown at this time, NBC New York’s report also notes that police are trying to see if a gun found on a property where they found Hollander dead matches the gun used to murder Judge Salas’s son.

Interestingly, the report also notes that “authorities” are trying to figure out if Hollander is also connected to the death of a men’s rights activist in California. 

We will continue to update this story as new items related to it arise. For now, our thoughts and prayers remain with the Salas family.

 

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