Lawyer found dead after gunman kills son of US federal judge.
A law enforcement official is seen outside the home of federal judge Esther Salas, where her son was shot and killed and her defense attorney husband was critically injured, in North Brunswick, New Jersey, U.S. July 20, 2020. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
A gunman posing as a delivery man has shot and killed the 20-year-old son of a US federal judge and wounded her husband at their home before fleeing in New Jersey, authorities said.
The shooting happened on Sunday evening at the home of US District Judge Esther Salas in North Brunswick, New Jersey.
Her son Daniel was killed and her husband, defence lawyer Mark Anderl, was injured, said Chief District Judge Freda Wolfson.
Investigators are examining a possible connection between the shooting and the body of a man found dead on Monday from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound in Sullivan County, New York, a law enforcement official said.
The man, a lawyer from New York City, is being investigated in connection with the shooting, the law enforcement official and a judiciary official said. The man had appeared before Judge Salas in the past, the officials said.
Her son, Daniel Anderl, was shortly due head back to the Catholic University of America in Washington DC.
Judge Salas, seated in Newark, New Jersey, was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed in 2011. Before that, she served as a magistrate in New Jersey after working as an assistant public defender for several years.
Brn in California to a Cuban immigrant mother and Mexican father, she spent most of her childhood in Union City, New Jersey.
After helping her family escape a devastating house fire, she acted as her mother’s translator and advocate, foreshadowing her career in law as she argued her family’s case to welfare officials, according to a 2018 magazine profile.
In the profile, she spoke of her son possibly following his parents into the legal profession.
“He’s been arguing with us since he could talk – practising his advocacy skills,” Judge Salas told New Jersey Monthly. “I don’t want to dissuade him, but I was pulling for a doctor.”
Just last week, she had been appointed to hear an ongoing lawsuit brought by Deutsche Bank investors who claim the company made false and misleading statements about its anti-money laundering policies and failed to monitor “high-risk” customers including convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Her highest profile case in recent years was the financial fraud case involving Real Housewives Of New Jersey reality TV stars Teresa and Joe Giudice, whom Judge Salas sentenced to prison for crimes including bankruptcy fraud and tax evasion.
She staggered their sentences so one of them could be available to take care of their four children.
In 2017, she barred federal prosecutors from seeking the death penalty against an alleged gang leader charged in several Newark murders, ruling the man’s intellectual disability made him ineligible for capital punishment. She later sentenced him to 45 years in prison.
New Jersey senator Bob Menendez, who backed Judge Salas’s nomination to the federal bench, 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.”
New Jersey governor Phil Murphy called the shooting “a senseless act” and said: “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.