A gunman disguised as a delivery driver shot and killed the 20-year-old son of federal judge Esther Salas, and also wounded her husband at the family’s home in North Brunswick, New Jersey on Sunday, July 19th, the Washington Post reports.
Salas, who was reportedly in the basement at the time of the shooting, was uninjured. Law enforcement officials said they were told the gunman appeared at the New Brunswick home wearing a FedEx uniform. Salas’ husband, Mark Anderl, a defense attorney, and son Daniel were shot after one of them opened the door for the gunman around 5 p.m. ET. Anderl was taken to the hospital for surgery and is reportedly in critical condition, according to NJ Advance Media.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said in a statement, “Judge Salas and her family are in our thoughts at this time as they cope with this senseless act.”
The suspect is believed to be Roy Den Hollander, a lawyer and men’s rights activist who was found dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound in Liberty, New York, according to ABC News. On his website, Den Hollander refers to himself as attempting to “battle the infringement of Men’s Rights by the Feminists and their fellow sisters the PCers.” Den Hollander had previously unsuccessfully sued a Manhattan nightclub for gender discrimination when it required him to pay $350 for a bottle of vodka to get in, while allowing women to enter for free. He also filed suit against Columbia University for offering women’s studies courses, which he viewed as discriminatory against men. He reportedly had a case pending in front of Salas regarding the military’s male-only draft, per the Daily Beast.
Salas, 51, was nominated to the bench by President Barack Obama in 2010 and confirmed in 2011, becoming the first Latina U.S. District Court judge in New Jersey. In a profile for New Jersey Monthly, a federal prosecutor referred to Salas as having “the perfect judicial temperament. She treats everyone as equal.”
Salas has presided over a number of high-profile cases, including the 2018 sentencing of Farad Roland, the leader of Newark’s South Side Cartel, who admitted in court to five murders, an armed carjacking, and assault with a deadly weapon, among other charges. She also oversaw the trial of Teresa Giudice, the Real Housewives of New Jersey star whom Salas sentenced to 15 months in prison for mortgage and bank fraud in 2013. (An attorney for Giudice referred to the attack on Salas’s family as “devastating” and said Giudice was “praying very heavily for Judge Salas and her family.”) Law enforcement authorities were unaware of any violent threats made against Salas or her family, according to CNN.
Prior to the deceased suspect being found, conspiracy theories about the attack swirled on the internet due to Salas’s tenuous connection to the deceased pedophile Jeffrey Epstein (himself the focal point of numerous conspiracy theories). As of last week, Salas was overseeing a class action lawsuit brought against Deutsche Bank on behalf of investors. The suit alleges that Deutsche Bank “failed to properly monitor customers that the Bank itself deemed to be high risk, including, among others, the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein,” according to court documents.
At the time of his death, Daniel Anderl was preparing to enter his junior year at Catholic University. He was a former star pitcher at St. Joseph’s High School in Metuchen, New Jersey, from which he graduated cum laude.
“We all mourn and grieve this loss to our University community,” President John Garvey said in a statement. “Our deepest condolences go out to Daniel’s parents, Esther Salas and Mark Anderl.”
Mon. July 20th, 2020, 1:07 p.m.: This story has been updated to include that a suspect had been found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot. 2:25 p.m.: This story has been updated to include the name of the suspect.