(CN) — A gunman dressed as a FedEx worker opened fire into the New Jersey home of U.S. District Judge Esther Salas on Sunday night, critically injuring her husband and killing the couple’s son.
The suspect fled, and authorities have not yet confirmed whether there is a connection to the discovery Monday of a body outside a vehicle in Liberty, New York — apparently the victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Officials have identified the man found in the Catskills as Roy Den Hollander, an attorney from New York City who had appeared before the judge in the past. As noted on a cache of Den Hollander’s now-inactive website, the lawyer touted his reputation as an anti-feminist and proponent of so-called “men’s rights.”
Den Hollander wrote a book where he directly called Salas “lazy and incompetent,” according to NBC, and listed high school cheerleading as her only accomplishment. His body was reportedly found beside a gun and a package or envelope addressed to Salas.
Nearly 24 hours after the shooting, several details remain uncertain. Initial reports suggested that the judge’s 20-year-old son, Daniel Anderl, answered the door Sunday at 5 p.m. to the presumed delivery worker, meeting a hail of bullets from a semiautomatic firearm.
The young man’s father, Mark Anderl, a defense attorney, was struck standing behind him, according to that version. He is in critical but stable condition. Judge Salas was in the basement of the North Brunswick home at the time and not injured in the shooting.
But another report says it was Mark Anderl who answered the door and was shot first. This version says Daniel rushed to aid his father and was killed.
The Newark FBI tweeted after the shooting that it was searching for a white male who was wearing a face covering and a FedEx uniform and fled in an ordinary car. It is believed Den Hollander shot himself hours later.
Four days prior to the carnage, Salas was assigned to the ongoing lawsuit brought by Deutsche Bank investors who claim the company made false and misleading statements about its anti-money-laundering policies. The investors also claim they failed to vet “high-risk” customers, including convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Other high-profile cases over which Salas has presided include a financial-fraud suit between reality TV stars Teresa and Joe Giudice, who appear on “Real Housewives of New Jersey,” to which she sentenced them for tax evasion. Salas did, however, stagger their sentences so one of them was able to take care of their children.
Salas also sentenced the leader of the South Side Cartel Farad Roland, one of Newark’s most violent street gangs, to 45 years on racketeering charges in 2018.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy expressed his condolences to Salas.
“Judge Salas and her family are in our thoughts at this time as they cope with this senseless act,” Murphy said in a statement. “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.”
Dear Members of the University Community,— Catholic University President (@CatholicPres) July 20, 2020
I was shocked last night to hear news of Daniel Anderl’s tragic death Sunday evening in New Jersey. Daniel was a rising junior, enrolled for classes beginning in the next few weeks. He turned 20 last week.https://t.co/NtEfxrGoxl
New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez has also extended his sympathy.
“I know Judge Salas and her husband well, and was proud to recommend her to President Obama for nomination to NJ’s federal bench,” Menendez shared in a Tweet. “My prayers are with Judge Salas and her family, and that those responsible for this horrendous act are swiftly apprehended and brought to justice.”
Salas, the first Latina woman to serve on a federal bench in New Jersey, was appointed to the bench in 2011 by President Barack Obama.
Daniel, an only child, was entering his junior year at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He made the Dean’s List this spring.
The Daily Beast has noted that Hollander’s death is conspicuously timed just a week after the violent death of another prominent men’s rights attorney, Marc Angelucci, who worked on cases similar to those of Hollander. The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Office has not yet made any arrests in the shooting of Angelucci at his house.
Den Hollander’s website recounts his work attempting to outlaw examples of what he described as special treatment for women, including ladies’ nights at bars and women’s studies programs at universities. The website also details the origin of his advocacy: an apparent Russian bride scheme where Den Hollander says he was swindled by a prostitute in disguise whom he met while working for the investigative firm Kroll Associates in the late 1990s.