Gunman kills the son of US judge in attack at her home
NEW YORK: A gunman posing as a delivery person shot and killed the 20-year-old son of a federal judge and wounded her husband at their New Jersey home before fleeing, according to judiciary officials.
The shooting occurred on Sunday evening at the North Brunswick home of US District Judge Esther Salas, and killed her son, Daniel, Chief District Judge Freda Wolfson said. Her husband, defence lawyer Mark Anderl, was injured in the attack, Wolfson said.
Salas was in the basement at the time and wasn’t injured, according to a judiciary official who wasn’t authorised to comment and spoke anonymously.
The perpetrator, believed to be a lone gunman posing as a FedEx delivery person, was not in custody, the official said. The US Marshals and the FBI said in a series of tweets that they are looking for one suspect in the shootings.
Daniel Anderl, who was named to the Dean’s List this spring at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, was the judge’s only child, the official said. He was shot once in the chest with a semi-automatic weapon as he answered the door, while his father, just behind him, was struck several times, the official said.
“I was shocked last night to hear news of Daniel Anderl’s tragic death on Sunday evening in New Jersey. Daniel was a rising junior, enrolled for classes beginning in the next few weeks,” university President John Garvey wrote on Twitter. He turned 20 last week.
The gunman fled the scene in a car, the official said.
Salas, seated in Newark, was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed in 2011. Prior to that, she served as a US Magistrate Judge in New Jersey, after working as an assistant public defender for several years.
Asked if officials thought the shooting was linked to the judge’s work or the current climate of political unrest, Wolfson said, “We really have no idea.”
Salas was presiding over 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 husband-and-wife Real Housewives of New Jersey reality TV stars Teresa and Joe Giudice, whom Salas sentenced to prison for crimes including bankruptcy fraud and tax evasion. Salas staggered their sentences so that 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 slayings, ruling the man’s intellectual disability made him ineligible for capital punishment. Salas later sentenced the man to 45 years in prison.