Daniel Anderl, the 20-year-old son of Federal Judge Esther Salas and her criminal defense attorney husband, was shot and killed in the doorway of his parents’ North Brunswick, New Jersey home by an unidentified gunman wearing a FedEx uniform.
The suspect is believed to be Roy Den Hollander, a men’s rights attorney who had appeared before Judge Salas on a case challenging the military’s male-only draft, according to Daily Beast. You can read more about Den Hollander here.
Daniel’s father, Mark Anderl, the judge’s husband, was shot multiple times but survived. The detail about the uniform was reported by New Jersey Globe. Authorities have yet to give detailed remarks on the shootings.
The judge is not injured because she was in the basement at the time of the shooting, NBC New York reported.
According to CNN, the suspect has died of a possible self-inflicted wound.
The suspect, who was found dead near Liberty, New York by a municipal employee “was an attorney who had a case before Judge Salas in 2015,” ABC News reported, adding that authorities found a FedEx package addressed to Salas in the car.
News 4 New York reported that the gunman showed up at the judge’s home in North Brunswick around 5 p.m. on Sunday, July 19.
“Dan was a remarkable person because of his endless zest for life,” John Kish, who knew Daniel, told Heavy. “He’s the one person among my friends that seemed to have more energy, courage, and curiosity than the entire group put together. His great sense of humor and sometimes goofy personality made him a lovable guy to everybody.”
Kish added: “He studied Pre-law philosophy at CUA, and was passionate about the role of justice in society. He was quite hardworking and intelligent, and dreamed of living up to the examples that his parents had set.”
Here’s what you need to know about Daniel Anderl:
1. Daniel Was Shot ‘Through the Heart,’ the Mayor Says
NBC New York reported that the judge’s husband answered the door and was shot “multiple times.” The son came to see what was going on and was also shot. However, there are conflicting reports about who opened the door first, father or son. ABC News reported that “the judge’s son opened the door to the family’s North Brunswick home and was immediately shot,” quoting North Brunswick Mayor Francis “Mac” Womack as saying that Daniel Anderl was “shot through the heart.”
According to the television station, the judge is the first Latina woman to serve on New Jersey’s federal bench. Rutgers University called her “The first Hispanic to serve as a US Magistrate Judge for NJ.”
The motive and suspect are not yet clear. “The FBI is investigating a shooting that occurred at the home of Judge Ester Salas in North Brunswick Township, New Jersey earlier this evening, July 19. We’re looking for one subject & ask that anyone who thinks they may have relevant information call us at 1-973-792-3001,” wrote FBI Newark.
2. Daniel Anderl Was a College Student Whose Dad Was a Criminal Defense Attorney & Former Prosecutor
Daniel Anderl had his entire life ahead of him. He was a Catholic University student. On his Twitter page, he wrote, “CUA 2022.” That stands for Catholic University of America, which is located in Washington D.C.
“Daniel was a rising junior, enrolled for classes beginning in the next few weeks. He turned 20 last week. We all mourn and grieve this loss to our University community,” Catholic University said in a statement.
His father Mark Anderl, 63, is a criminal defense attorney. Anderl is a lawyer with the New Jersey law firm of Anderl & Oakley, P.C.
His website biography says that Anderl practices in the areas of “State and Federal Criminal Defense Juvenile Delinquency DWI/Municipal Court.” He received his education from Brooklyn Law School and Northeastern University and was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 1985.
“Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Criminal Trial Attorney, 1997 to present Over 250 Criminal Jury Trials Anderl & Oakley, P.C., partner, 1997 to present,” his website says. Before that, he worked as an assistant prosecutor for 10 years in the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.
He has received numerous awards, including Middlesex County Bar Association Practitioner of the Year and New York top-rated lawyers.
3. Daniel’s Mother, Esther Salas, Is a Former Public Defender Nominated to the Federal Bench by Barack Obama
According to The New Jersey Globe, Salas is “a widely respected and popular jurist” who was nominated by President Barack Obama to be a federal judge in 2010 after serving as a public defender and federal magistrate.
You can read the judge’s lengthy biographical questionnaire from her nomination hearing here.
“Throughout my professional career, I have made it a point to reach out to the community, and I have participated throughout the years in programs that seek to empower urban youth to achieve academic and professional success,” she wrote.
She stated that she had expressed her interest in pursuing a federal judicial appointment to both of New Jersey’s U.S. Senators. In 2009, she was contacted by Senator Frank Lautenberg’s representative asking if she was interested. She then met with Lautenberg’s selection group and with Senator Robert Menendez and his Chief Counsel.
According to NJ Monthly, Salas has said one of her “proudest accomplishments” was creating a Pretrial Opportunity Program with another judge. It’s a jail alternative program for drug addicts. The story says Salas would “sit down for frank conversations with defendants,” adding that she “lives and breathes her work.”
4. The Judge’s Son Played Baseball in High School & She Wanted Him to Become a Doctor
Daniel Anderl is listed by Perfect Game.org as a 2018 graduate of North Brunswick, New Jersey. He was listed as uncommitted. He attended St. Joseph high school and stood 5 foot 10 inches tall and weighed 150 pounds. Team last played for was listed as “baseball warehouse.”
At St. Joseph, he graduated Cum Laude (4-year cumulative GPA >3.8).
“It is with the utmost sadness that we inform you that Dan Anderl ’18 was taken from us last night. Dan was a true friend, a proud Falcon, and an overall wonderful human being. He will be truly missed. We pray for Dan’s family and friends during this unbelievably difficult time — please know, we are mourning with you,” St. Joseph wrote in a statement.
Judge Salas once told New Jersey Monthly, when her son was 17, that she could see him pursuing a legal career.
“I don’t want to dissuade him, but I was pulling for a doctor,” Salas told the publication. “He’s been arguing with us since he could talk—practicing his advocacy skills.” The story said that Salas “teaches him her mother’s mantra: ‘Tu no eres mejor que nadie, pero nadie es mejor que tu.’ It means you are not better than anyone, but no one is better than you.”
However, according to NJ.com, he was planning to go to law school.
5. Salas Is the Child of Cuban & Mexican Parents
According to Best of NJ, Esther Salas was born on December 29, 1968, in Monterey Park, California to a Cuban mother and a Mexican father.
She was largely raised by a single mother, the youngest of five children, the site reported, describing her as “a bright child” who “helped her mother negotiate at the welfare office to ensure her family wasn’t snubbed or ignored.”
She eventually went to college, and then clerked for New Jersey Superior Court Judge Eugene J. Codey Jr. before becoming a law firm associate and eventually an assistant federal public defender.