The gunman arrived at the home of Judge Esther Salas in North Brunswick, New Jersey, around 5 p.m., NBC New York reported. The person shot Salas’ 20-year-old son, Daniel Anderl, when he answered the door and then shot her husband multiple times before fleeing. Salas was reportedly in the basement at the time of the shooting and was not injured.
A municipal employee discovered the suspect’s body in a car in Rockland, New York, which is located about 100 miles northwest of New York City.
Investigators identified the suspect, who died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, as Manhattan lawyer Roy Den Hollander, reported ABC News and The Daily Beast. Hollander, a self-described anti-feminist, argued a case before Salas in 2015.
Investigators said the gunman may have been dressed as a FedEx driver when he opened fire at Salas’ home. The intended target of the attack was not immediately clear. Mark Anderl, 63, is a criminal defense attorney.
The FBI and U.S. Marshals Service, which is charged with the protection of federal judges but typically does not guard judges around the clock absent a specific threat, are investigating the shooting.
Salas, 51, has been a judge on the U.S. District Court for New Jersey in Newark for nine years and is the first Hispanic woman to serve on the federal bench in the state. She was appointed by former President Barack Obama and confirmed in 2011.
The judge has presided over several high-profile cases, most recently the trial of Teresa Giudice, a former star on “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.”
Last week, Salas was assigned to a lawsuit filed against Deutsche Bank. A group of investors has claimed the banking giant failed to flag questionable transactions made by “high-risk” customers, including the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein, a convicted sex offender, died last August while awaiting trial over sex-trafficking charges.
“My prayers are with Judge Salas and her family, and that those responsible for this horrendous act are swiftly apprehended and brought to justice,” New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez (D) told AP on Sunday night.
Daniel Anderl was a student at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. He was planning to attend law school, according to The Bridgewater Courier News.
North Brunswick Mayor Mac Womack said Mark Anderl, whom he described as a “100% pleasant person,” frequently bragged about his son.
“He loves to talk about his wife, and he loves to brag about his son and how his son would excel in baseball,” Womack said. “I’m just very sorry to see him going through this.”
Womack said Salas had received threats in the past.
“As a judge, she had threats from time to time, but everyone is saying that recently there had not been any,” Womack told ABC News.
In the 2019 fiscal year, the U.S. Marshals Service reported 4,449 threats or inappropriate communications to those they protect, up from just 926 in 2015. The U.S. Marshals Service said it opened 373 predicated protective investigations, the most serious kind of inquiry, in 2019.
Ryan J. Reilly contributed reporting.