Judge Esther Salas' son shot and killed, husband injured in attack at their NJ home

WABC-TVBy 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 is 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. He remains at-large.

At about 5 p.m. Sunday, the gunman knocked at the door to the family’s North Brunswick home. Mark Anderl answered the door and was shot first, before his son 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.”

FedEx Spokesman Jim Masilak said in a statement, “We are aware of the media reports and are fully cooperating with investigating authorities.”

The mayor said investigators are now “trying to get a hard make on the vehicle” to track the suspect.

“As a judge, she had threats from time to time, but everyone is saying that recently there had not been any,” said Womack, who is personal friends with the judge and her husband.

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.”

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.

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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