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Photo: New Jersey Star-Ledger
Photo: New Jersey Star-Ledger

New Jersey’s First Latina federal judge, Esther Salas, thought to be targeted in July 19 attack

An attorney, Roy Den Hollander, was the prime suspect for the shooting that killed Salas’ son and injured her husband.

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In her account of events to the New York Times, Marion Costanza, neighbor of Judge Esther Salas and her family, said the shooting happened around 5 p.m. 

A gunman posing as a FedEx delivery man knocked on the Salas’ front door in New Brunswick, New Jersey before opening fire on those who opened it.

It was Salas’ son, 20-year-old Daniel Anderl followed behind by her husband, Mark Anderl. Both received gunshot wounds in the attack and Daniel died. 

Mark is in stable condition after undergoing surgery at Robert Wood Hospital in New Brunswick.

The suspected gunman — self-proclaimed men’s rights activist and attorney, Roy Den Hollander — was found dead on the morning of July 20 from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound two hours from the shooting in Liberty, New York.

In addition to a gun that may have been used in the shooting, Hollander was also found with FedEx packages addressed to Salas and New York State Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, who could have also been a target for Hollander.  

The investigation into the motive is just beginning, but in her position as a federal judge, Salas oversaw numerous high-profile cases that could have put a target on her back.

“She was always a little concerned,” Costanza told the Times.

A week ago, Salas was assigned the class-action lawsuit leveled by investors against Deutsche Bank for failing to flag questionable transactions made from late financier Jeffrey Epstein’s account.

She also sent two stars of the reality show Real Housewives of New Jersey to jail for fraud in 2014.

Her only interaction with Hollander came in 2015, when he filed a class-action suit against the Selective Service System for violating women’s equal protection rights by only requiring men to register with the service.

Salas allowed the case to proceed in 2018. Despite the victory, Hollander accused her of not moving it along fast enough. He stepped down from the case in 2019, citing a terminal cancer diagnosis.

First appointed to her federal post in 2010 by President Barack Obama, Salas became the first Latina federal judge in New Jersey’s history. Before her appointment, she served as a magistrate judge and assistant federal public defender.    

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, friends and associates of Salas’ family expressed their support in droves.

New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez recalled the fond memory of first recommending her to the president for the federal judge spot in the state.

Catholic University, where her son Daniel attended school also held a mass at 7 p.m. on July 20 to commemorate his life.

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