Federal authorities are investigating whether a lawyer was the gunman who shot into the New Jersey home of a federal judge, killing her son and wounding her husband, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the matter.
New York State Police found the lawyer’s body near Liberty, New York, on Monday morning, hours after the shooting occurred late Sunday afternoon at the home of the judge, Esther Salas of U.S. District Court in New Jersey. Authorities believe that the lawyer died after shooting himself, the official said.
The lawyer was identified as Roy Den Hollander, who in 2015 brought a lawsuit before Salas that challenged the male-only military draft, according to two law enforcement officials.
The class-action lawsuit accused the Selective Service System, the independent government agency that maintains a database of Americans eligible for a potential draft, of violating women’s equal protection rights by requiring only men to register with the service. Salas ruled that the lawsuit could proceed, and the case is ongoing.
Den Hollander was a self-described anti-feminist who had sued nightclubs for offering ladies’ night discounts and Columbia University for offering courses on women’s studies.
As part of the investigation into the lawyer’s death, police found a package that was addressed to Salas, according to another law enforcement official briefed on the matter.
“There’s a pretty good level of confidence he’s the guy,” the official said.
Federal and local authorities had been carrying out an intense search Monday for the gunman, canvassing the neighborhood while looking for witnesses and surveillance video, according to law enforcement officials.
Authorities believe that somebody dressed in a FedEx uniform was in the neighborhood around the time of the shooting, but it could not be determined if that person was the gunman, one of the officials said.
Salas was in the basement when the shots were fired and was not injured.
The shooting occurred at her home in North Brunswick, New Jersey, which is about 40 miles southwest of New York City.
The New York State Police were notified about 8:15 a.m. Monday about the lawyer’s body, which was found about a two-hour drive from the judge’s home. Federal investigators were examining the lawyer’s car for any evidence and set up a crime scene near the location where his body was found, according to a law enforcement official.
The judge’s husband, Mark Anderl, 63, was shot multiple times and Monday was in the hospital in stable condition, according to Carlos Salas, an older brother of the judge. Their son, Daniel Anderl, 20, died from a gunshot wound to the heart.
In an interview, Carlos Salas described an account of the shooting that he said was provided to him by federal authorities. The judge’s husband was at home Sunday afternoon when he looked out the window and thought he saw a FedEx deliveryman. After the doorbell rang, the couple’s son opened the door and was shot. When the older Anderl went over to see what happened, he was also shot.
Salas said his sister ran upstairs from the basement when she heard a scream and the gunshots.
The family does not know why the shooting occurred, but Carlos Salas said that either Esther Salas or her husband, a criminal defense lawyer, might have been the intended victims.
“We don’t know if she was the target or he was the target,” Carlos Salas said.
Daniel Anderl, their only child, was about to start his junior year at Catholic University of America in Washington.
“It’s surreal,” Carlos Salas said. “He was a vibrant, young, good-looking man. He had so much promise.”
The FBI had been conducting the investigation with the U.S. marshals and local authorities. A spokesman for FedEx said in a statement that the company was “fully cooperating with the authorities in their investigation.”
(BEGIN OPTIONAL TRIM.)On Monday morning, yellow crime scene tape surrounded the judge’s property as television trucks clogged the street. A white BMW X5 was parked in the family’s driveway.
Authorities have not disclosed any possible motive behind the shooting.
(END OPTIONAL TRIM.)Esther Salas presided over a wide range of cases. Last week, she was assigned to oversee a class-action lawsuit filed by a group of investors against Deutsche Bank, contending that the firm failed to flag questionable transactions that were made from the account of financier Jeffrey Epstein, who died in August while in jail awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.
In 2014, she sentenced two married stars of the “Real Housewives of New Jersey” television show to prison time after the couple pleaded guilty to fraud charges. In 2016, she also sentenced a heroin supplier for the Grape Street Crips Gang to 15 years in prison.
Salas, 51, is the first Hispanic woman to serve as a federal judge in New Jersey. President Barack Obama nominated her to the U.S. District Court for New Jersey in 2010. She had previously served as a magistrate judge and an assistant federal public defender.
Her son, Daniel Anderl, was interested in following in his parents’ footsteps and pursuing a legal career, according to the judge’s brother.
Anderl played on the club golf team at Catholic University and made the dean’s list this spring.
(BEGIN OPTIONAL TRIM.)In a letter published on Catholic University’s website Monday, President John H. Garvey offered his condolences and said the school’s chaplain would celebrate Mass that evening for Daniel Anderl and his family.
“He was fiercely proud of his family and loved being at Catholic U, as he often told me,” Amy Petrovich Kerr, associate dean of students and director of residence life, said in a statement. “I cannot find words to describe what his loss means for us, but am sure that for his friends, his memory and legacy will serve as a blessing.”
Anderl graduated from St. Joseph High School in Metuchen, New Jersey, in 2018. In a statement, the school called him “a true friend, a proud Falcon, and an overall wonderful human being.”
He played as a left-handed pitcher on St. Joseph’s baseball team, said Nick Loffredo, 21, a teammate and former captain of the team.
“Even if we weren’t in season, he was still playing; he was still practicing,” Loffredo said.
Salas met her husband when he was a prosecutor in the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, according to a 2018 profile of her in New Jersey Monthly. “We’ve been inseparable since 1992,” she told the publication.
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After a decade as a prosecutor, Mark Anderl became a criminal defense lawyer and co-founded the law firm Anderl & Oakley PC. The firm represents clients facing charges that range from drunken driving to murder, according to its website.