U.S. District Judge Esther Salas has delivered her first public statement since a misogynist attorney killed her 20-year-old son Daniel Anderl and seriously wounded her 63-year-old husband Mark Anderl at their New Jersey home on July 19.
“Two weeks ago, my life as I knew it changed in an instant, and my family will never be the same,” Salas said. “A madman, who I believe was targeting me because of my position as a federal judge, came to my house.”
Investigators say that madman was lawyer Roy Den Hollander. He had previously had a case before Salas, a federal judge in the District of New Jersey. Authorities are reportedly looking into whether shooter, who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, was attempting to carry out a hit-list of his perceived enemies. Den Hollander fled the scene of the New Jersey shooting, and was later found dead by suicide in Rockland, New York.
Salas said that she and her husband had welcomed Daniel home to celebrate his 20th birthday. He had asked if they could host a party for a few of his Catholic University of America friends. They agreed when they thought they could adhere to COVID-19 safety guidelines.
“The weekend was a glorious one,” she said. “It was filled with love, laughter, and smiles.”
Daniel’s friends left the residence on Sunday. It was later that day that the shooting happened. From Salas’s point of view, she was in the basement, and chatting with her son.
“‘Mom, let’s keep talking,'” Daniel said, according to Salas. “‘I love talking to you, Mom'”
There was a ring at the doorbell. Daniel asked who that was, and he sprinted upstairs. Salas said she heard bullets, and someone yelling, “No!”
“I later learned that this monster, who had a FedEx package in his hand, opened fire, but Daniel being Daniel, protected his father and he took the shooter’s first bullet directly to the chest,” she said.
Mark Anderl was then shot three times: in the right chest, left abdonmen, and right forearm, Salas said.
“While my husband is still in the hospital recovering from his multiple surgeries, we are living every parent’s worst nightmare: making preparations to bury our only child, Daniel,” Salas said.
Now the judge is calling for officials to make it harder for something like this to happen again. Salas wants better privacy protections for federal judges.
“Unfortunately for my family, the threat was real and the free flow of information from the Internet allowed this sick and depraved human being to find all our personal information and target us,” she said.
Salas said that federal judges’ addresses and other information was available on the Internet. She added that “there are companies that will sell your personal details that can be leveraged for nefarious purposes.”
“My son’s death cannot be in vain, which is why I am begging those in power to do something to help my brothers and sisters on the bench,” Salas said. “Now, more than ever, we need to identify a solution that keeps the lives of federal judges private. I know this is a complicated issue, and I don’t pretend to know or have all answers, but together we can find a way. Let’s commence a national dialogue, let’s work collaboratively to find a solution that will safeguard the privacy of federal judges.”
[Screengrab via Mercury]
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