NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ—Authorities are investigating the circumstances that led to a fatal shooting in the Hidden Lake home of US District Court Judge Esther Salas on the afternoon of July 19.
Salas’ 20-year-old son, Catholic University student Daniel Anderl, was reportedly killed, and her husband, attorney Mark Anderl, was seriously injured.
According to published reports, Salas was in the basement of her home and was not harmed in the attack, which began when someone dressed as a Federal Express delivery driver knocked on her front door.
A neighbor said that the shooting took place at approximately 5pm, and that federal agents started arriving at Point of Woods Drive around 8pm.
Mark Anderl was rushed to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick in critical condition, where he reportedly underwent surgery.
Shortly after, agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and US Marshalls were seen entering the emergency room at the hospital.
Officers with the New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD) were also observed wielding large weapons along the Somerset Street side of the RWJUH campus.
A spokesperson for the hospital was unable to say if the hospital was under a “lockdown” and deferred all inquiries to the US Attorney’s Office.
That office did not answer late-night phone calls and did not immediately respond to emailed questions.
Meanwhile, the FBI’s Newark office issued a statement on Twitter, saying:
“We’re looking for one subject & ask that anyone who thinks they may have relevant information call us at 1-973-792-3001.”
Salas is the first Hispanic person to serve as a federal Judge in New Jersey.
She met her husband in 1992 when he was working with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, according to a 2018 New Jersey Monthly profile.
After leaving that position, Mark Anderl started his own law firm, Anderl & Oakley, where he practices criminal defense.
Anderl represents Guillermo Quinones, one of three former New Brunswick Water Utility employees who pleaded guilty to official misconduct in a bribery scheme.
After five years as a federal magistrate, Salas was appointed to the Judge job by then-President Barack Obama. She began serving as a Judge in 2011.
“My prayers are with Judge Salas and her family, and that those responsible for this horrendous act are swiftly apprehended and brought to justice,” said Menendez, who recommended that Obama nominate her for the Judgeship in 2010.
Governor Phil Murphy also issued a statement on the tragic incident.
“Judge Salas and her family are in our thoughts at this time as they cope with this senseless act,” Murphy 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.”
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate, a community organizer, and a former independent candidate for mayor of New Brunswick.