Esther Salas is a New Jersey federal judge whose son and husband were shot on the evening of July 19 in their home.
The New Jersey Globe reported a gunman dressed as a FedEx delivery driver shot Salas’ spouse and child around 5 p.m. in their North Brunswick home.
Her 20-year-old son, Daniel Anderl, died, while her husband, Mark Anderl, a 63-year-old criminal defense attorney, is in “critical but stable condition,” the outlet continued. Mark Anderl received surgery at the Robert Wood Johnson Hospital.
Salas, 51, was not harmed, sources told the Globe.
NBC New York reported that authorities believe the gunman shot the husband multiple times upon answering the door. The 20-year-old then came running to the scene and was shot before the gunman fled. Salas was in the basement at the time of the shooting, the station continued..
ABC News, on the other hand, claimed Salas’ son was the one to open the door and was “immediately shot,” quoting North Brunswick Mayor Francis “Mac” Womack.
FBI Newark announced on Twitter that it is investigating the shooting.
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.
— FBI Newark (@FBINewark) July 20, 2020
“The FBI is investigating a shooting that occurred at the home of Judge Ester (sic) 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,” the statement reads.
The Daily Beast reported on July 20 that Roy Den Hollander, a well-known men’s rights attorney, is believed to be the suspected gunman.
Authorities claimed the suspect was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Rockland, New York, the outlet added. Den Hollander had a case pending before Salas that involved a “challenge to the military’s male-only draft,” the Beast said, citing court documents.
A motive has not yet been released, the outlet added.
Here’s everything you need to know about Esther Salas:
1. At 10, a House Fire Left Salas & Her Family Homeless
The California native had recently moved to Union City, New Jersey with her mother and siblings when a fire broke out in their apartment, New Jersey Monthly Magazine reported.
“We lost everything in that fire,” Salas recounted to the magazine. “I helped save the cat, then reached my hand into the closet and grabbed one shoe, then another, and had to get out. That’s how little time we had.”
The would-be-federal-judge explained to the publication that she had to help her mother, a Cuban native, translate her family’s case to the welfare office.
“It wasn’t fun; it wasn’t easy,” Salas said. “I had to really advocate.”
The experience proved to be a stepping stone for Salas’ future as an attorney, New Jersey Monthly wrote.
Salas secured her J.D. from the the Rutgers University School of Law in 1994, according to Ballotpedia.
2. Salas Was New Jersey’s First Latino Federal Magistrate Judge & First Latina U.S. District Court Judge
Judge Esther Salas and Evelyn Padin speaking about latinas in the profession pic.twitter.com/bOD4ULzRRg
— Albertina Webb (@NJDivorceAbby) May 16, 2019
Salas served as a federal magistrate judge for the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey from November 2006 to June 2011, according to Ballotpedia.
New Jersey Monthly Magazine claimed that Salas was the state’s first Latino federal magistrate judge, as well as the first Latina U.S. District Court Judge.
Salas and her siblings were born to a Catholic mother, Aurelia Valdivia, who emigrated from Cuba, and a Jewish father, Carlos Salas, from Mexico, the publication added.
“Our father gave all of us Jewish first or middle names to go with our Mexican last name,” Salas told the outlet.
Their parents had both moved to the United States in the late 19050s, New Jersey Monthly said.
3. Salas Was Nominated to the Court by Former President Barack Obama
Former president Barack Obama nominated Salas in December 2010 to fill the seat on the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, Ballotpedia indicated.
“These outstanding candidates have shown an unwavering commitment to justice throughout their careers. They all have long and distinguished records of service, and I am pleased to nominate them to continue serving the American people on the District Court bench,” the president said of his nominations, according to the website.
After Salas’ nomination was returned to Obama at the end of the 111th Congress, he resubmitted the nomination in January 2011, Ballotpedia said.
Her nomination was confirmed by the Senate in June of that year.
4. Salas Met Her Husband as a Second-Year Law Intern
New Jersey Monthly Magazine reported that Salas Met Anderl when he was an assistant prosecutor in the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.
She was a second-year law school intern at the time, the outlet stated.
“I was literally getting fingerprinted” she told the magazine of the first time her future-husband approached her. “We’ve been inseparable since 1992.”
5. Salas Has Been Assigned to Several High-Profile Cases, Including One Involving a Real Housewives of New Jersey Star & a Case Linked to Jeffrey Epstein
In 2014, Salas amassed viral attention after she sentenced Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice and her husband, Joe, to prison.
The couple was charged in a 39-count indictment with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications and bankruptcy fraud, according to People Magazine.
They were “accused of exaggerating their income while applying for loans before their TV show debuted in 2009, then hiding their improving fortunes in a bankruptcy filing after their first season aired,” the magazine wrote.
Salas had recently been assigned to a case with a link to the late financier Jeffrey Epstein, according to Bloomberg Law.
They give the judge Esther Salas the Deutsche Bank/Epstein case on July 15th & now someone is breaking into her house w/ a FedEx uniform, killing her son & putting her husband in critical condition. Maybe a coincidence. pic.twitter.com/7KdkBJ31X0
— Jamarlin Martin (@JamarlinMartin) July 20, 2020
Deutsche Bank AG is being accused of misleading investors “about anti-money-laundering deficiencies” as well as failing to “properly monitor” customers considered to be “high risk,” which includes Epstein, Bloomberg reported.
Salas was assigned to the case filed on July 15 of this year, Global News Wire added.