The husband and son of U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas were shot this evening after a gunman dressed as a Federal Express delivery driver entered their North Brunswick home, the New Jersey Globe has learned.
Daniel Anderl , the judge’s 20-year-old son, is dead. He was a student at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.
Her husband, Mark Anderl, 63, a criminal defense attorney and former Assistant Essex County Prosecutor, is in critical but stable condition after undergoing surgery at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick.
Salas in unharmed, the Globe was told.
The suspect remains at large.
“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,” the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a tweet. “We’re looking for one subject & ask that anyone who thinks they may have relevant information call us.”
It is not immediately clear who the target of the shooting was. Salas had been the target of threats, the Globe has learned.
“I know Judge Salas and her husband well, and was proud to recommend her to President Obama for nomination to NJ’s federal bench,” said U.S. Senator Bob Menendez. “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, a widely respected and popular jurist, had served as a public defender and federal magistrate before President Barack Obama nominated her to serve as a District Court Judge in 2010.
She is the first Latina to serve as a federal judge in New Jersey.
The daughter of a Cuban mother and a Mexican father, Salas spent part of her childhood on welfare after a fire destroyed her Union City apartment.
“Judge Salas and her family are in our thoughts at this time as they cope with this senseless act,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “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.”
North Brunswick Mayor Francis “Mac” Womack said in a statement early Monday morning that “no words can express the sadness and loss we share tonight as a community after senseless shootings of the husband and son of USDC Judge Esther Salas.”
“We commit to do all we can to support the family in this time, as well as all law enforcement agencies involved,” Womack said.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal urged ant potential witnesses to contact the FBI hotline at 973-792-3000.
“We’re shocked by this horrific and violent act, and (the office of the attorney general) and (New Jersey State Police) offer our full investigative support to our federal partners,” Grewal said. “We express our deepest sympathies to Judge Salas and her family, and to all who are grieving in the aftermath of this tragedy.”
Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin said his thoughts were “with Judge Salas and her family during this unspeakably difficult time. ”
“We mourn the loss of her son and pray that her husband has a speedy and full recovery,” Coughlin said. “We must come together as a community to put an end to senseless gun violence. No family deserves to suffer the loss and heartache the Salas family must now endure.”
U.S. Senator Cory Booker called the shooting “shocking and sickening.”
This is shocking and sickening,” he said.
Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) said she worked with Judge Salas during her time as an Assistant U.S. Attorney.
“She is a dedicated public official. It’s difficult to even come up with words to express my horror over the senseless death of her son and shooting of her husband,” Sherrill said. “I will be keeping Judge Salas and her family in my prayers.”
In 2005, the husband and mother of U.S. District Court Judge Joan Lefkow were shot and killed in the judge’s Chicago home. A suspect killed himself and left a suicide note admitting to the shootings. That suspect said he broke into the home with the intention of killing the judge.
This story was updated at 9:20 PM, at 10:27 PM, at 10:39 PM, at 11:20, at 11:24, on Monday, July 20 at 12:12 AM, at 8:08 AM, at 9:37 AM, at 11:13 AM, and again at 11:17AM.