US judge's son killed by gunman at family home
A gunman shot and killed the 20-year-old son of a US federal judge as he answered the door of the family home on Sunday in New Jersey and shot and wounded the judge’s husband before fleeing.
The shootings occurred at the North Brunswick home of US District Judge Esther Salas, and killed her son, Daniel, Chief District Judge Freda Wolfson said. Her husband, defense lawyer Mark Anderl, was injured in the attack.
Salas was in the basement at the time and wasn’t injured, according to a judiciary official who wasn’t authorized 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 FBI tweeted on Sunday night that it’s looking for one suspect in the shootings.
Daniel Anderl, a college student, was the judge’s only child, the official said.
Salas, seated in Newark, was nominated by former President Barack Obama and confirmed in 2011. She had served as a Magistrate Judge in New Jersey, after working as an assistant public defender for several years.
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.
More recently, Salas has presided 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.
Democratic New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, who backed Salas’ nomination to the federal bench, said in a statement on Sunday night: “My prayers are with Judge Salas and her family, and that those responsible for this horrendous act are swiftly apprehended and brought to justice.”