NORTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. - A gunman shot and killed the 20-year-old son of a federal judge as he answered the door of the family home Sunday in New Jersey and shot and wounded the judge's husband before fleeing, according to judiciary officials.
The shootings occurred at the North Brunswick home of U.S. District Judge Esther Salas, and killed her son, Daniel, Chief District Judge Freda Wolfson told The Associated Press. Her husband, defense lawyer Mark Anderl, was injured in the attack, Wolfson said.
Salas was in the basement at the time and wasn’t injured, according to a judiciary official who wasn’t authorized to comment and spoke anonymously to the AP.
The perpetrator, believed to be a lone gunman posing as a FedEx delivery person, was not in custody, the official said. The FBI tweeted Sunday night that it's looking for one suspect in the shootings.
Daniel Anderl, a college student at The Catholic University of America in D.C., was the judge's only child, the official said.
Catholic University's statement on the loss of Daniel Anderl
"I was shocked last night to hear news of Daniel Anderl’s tragic death Sunday evening in New Jersey. 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.
Our deepest condolences go out to Daniel’s parents, Esther Salas and Mark Anderl. We pray too for Daniel’s father, who was also shot and is in the hospital.
Our chaplain, Father Jude DeAngelo, will offer Mass tonight at 7 PM for Daniel and his family. All are invited to join via Zoom.
Campus Ministry, the Counseling Center, and the Office of the Dean of Students are available to provide support to members of the University community.
Please join me and our entire campus community as we extend our deepest condolences to Daniel’s family and friends. May he rest in peace."
John H. Garvey, Catholic University President
Salas, seated in Newark, was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed in 2011. Prior to that she served as a U.S. Magistrate Judge in New Jersey, after working as an assistant public defender for several years.
Her highest-profile case in recent years was the financial fraud case involving husband-and-wife “Real Housewives of New Jersey” reality TV stars Teresa and Joe Giudice, whom Salas sentenced to prison for crimes including bankruptcy fraud and tax evasion. Salas staggered their sentences so that one of them could be available to take care of their four children.
In 2017, she barred federal prosecutors from seeking the death penalty against an alleged gang leader charged in several Newark slayings, ruling the man’s intellectual disability made him ineligible for capital punishment. Salas later sentenced the man to 45 years in prison.
More recently, Salas has presided over an ongoing lawsuit brought by Deutsche Bank investors who claim the company made false and misleading statements about its anti-money laundering policies and failed to monitor “high-risk” customers including convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, who backed Salas's nomination to the federal bench, said in a statement Sunday night, “My prayers are with Judge Salas and her family, and that those responsible for this horrendous act are swiftly apprehended and brought to justice.”
In an emailed statement, Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy called the shooting “a senseless act” and said "this tragedy is our latest reminder that gun violence remains a crisis in our country and that our work to make every community safer isn’t done.”
Associated Press reporter David Porter contributed to this report.
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