By JOSH MARGOLIN and AARON KATERSKY, ABC News
(NORTH BRUNSWICK, N.J.) — The son of a federal judge in Newark, New Jersey, has been shot and killed, and her husband shot and injured in an attack at the family’s home, according to law enforcement sources.
The judge, Esther Salas, was not hurt.
Her son, Daniel Anderl, 20, died, Francis “Mac” Womack, the mayor of North Brunswick, New Jersey, told ABC News. Salas’ husband, Mark Anderl, is in critical but stable condition as of Monday morning, according to law enforcement sources.
The suspect was a white man who wore a face covering and a FedEx uniform, law enforcement sources told ABC News, and he used an ordinary car to make a getaway.
At about 5 p.m. Sunday, the gunman knocked at the door to the family’s North Brunswick home. Daniel Anderl answered the door and was shot first, before his father was also shot.
“He was shot through the heart,” Womack said of Daniel Anderl, who was a student at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.
“Daniel was a rising junior, enrolled for classes beginning in the next few weeks,” Catholic University President John Garvey said in a statement Monday. “He turned 20 last week. We all mourn and grieve this loss to our University community.”
The suspect was later found dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound near Liberty, New York, multiple law enforcement sources told ABC News. A municipal employee discovered the body in a car.
The deceased suspect was an attorney who had a case before Judge Salas in 2015, sources said. A FedEx package addressed to Judge Salas was discovered in the car, sources said.
“As a judge, she had threats from time to time, but everyone is saying that recently there had not been any,” said Mayor Womack, who is personal friends with the judge and her husband.
FedEx Spokesman Jim Masilak said in a statement, “We are aware of the media reports and are fully cooperating with investigating authorities.”
In a statement, the FBI Newark office said, “The FBI is investigating a shooting that occurred at the home of Judge Esther Salas in North Brunswick Township, New Jersey earlier this evening, July 19. We are looking for one subject and ask that anyone who thinks they may have relevant information please call FBI Newark at 973-792-3001. We are working closely with our state and local partners and will provide additional updates when available.”
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy called the shooting “a brazen and cowardly act of gun violence at their home in North Brunswick. We give our full support to Judge Salas and her husband at this most trying time. This is an unconscionable tragedy.”
The New Jersey State Police, the North Brunswick Police and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s office are also involved in the investigation. The U.S. Marshals have been called to provide the judge with a security detail, according to a law enforcement official.
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.
— Catholic University President (@CatholicPres) July 20, 2020
Salas had received threats in the past, the sources said. Authorities are investigating whether there is any connection between those prior threats and the shooting, or whether it possibly involved the husband’s work as a criminal defense attorney.
“I know Judge Salas and her husband well, and was proud to recommend her to President Obama for nomination to New Jersey’s federal bench,” New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez said in a statement. “My prayers are with Judge Salas and her family, and that those responsible for this horrendous act are swiftly apprehended and brought to justice.”
Salas is the first Latina woman to serve on the federal bench in New Jersey.
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