Federal judge speaks out on son’s murder, calls for protection of judges

A law enforcement officer is seen outside of the North Brunswick, New Jersey, home of federal Judge Esther Salas, where her son was shot and killed and her defense attorney husband was critically injured July 19, 2020. Salas spoke publicly about the tragedy for the first time Aug. 3. (CNS photo/Eduardo Munoz, Reuters)A law enforcement officer is seen outside of the North Brunswick, New Jersey, home of federal Judge Esther Salas, where her son was shot and killed and her defense attorney husband was critically injured July 19, 2020. Salas spoke publicly about the tragedy for the first time Aug. 3. (CNS photo/Eduardo Munoz, Reuters)

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Federal Judge Esther Salas said the July 19 death of her only child, Daniel, killed at their family home by a lawyer, could not be in vain and in an Aug. 3 video called for the protection of "my brothers and sisters on the bench."

She asked to start a dialogue about the online availability of judges' personal information.

Advertisement

Salas recounted how following a 20th birthday celebration for her son, Daniel Anderl, with his college friends from The Catholic University of America, she was speaking with him in the basement of their home when the doorbell rang.

"We were chatting, as we always do, and Daniel said, 'Mom, let's keep talking. I love talking to you, Mom,' and it was at that exact moment that the doorbell rang," she recounted, taking deep breaths and holding in pain. "And Daniel looked at me and said, 'Who is that?' Before I could say a word, he sprinted upstairs.

[Don’t miss the latest news from the church and the world. Sign up for our daily newsletter.]

"Within seconds, I heard the sound of bullets and someone screaming '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. The monster then turns attention to my husband and began to shoot at my husband, one shot after another."

Lawyer Roy Den Hollander, who later committed suicide, has been identified as the shooter. Den Hollander, who has described himself as "anti-feminist," was found dead near Liberty, New York, a day after the shooting. Mark Anderl, the judge's husband, remains in the hospital.

"In my case, the monster knew where I lived and where and what church we attended and had a complete dossier on me and my family," said Salas in the video. "At the moment, there is nothing we can do to stop it and that is unacceptable. 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. Now, more than ever, we need to identify a solution that keeps the lives of federal judges private."

The family is said to be part of St. Augustine of Canterbury Parish in Kendall Park, New Jersey, in the Metuchen Diocese, and Daniel Anderl, who was set to start his junior year at Catholic University in Washington, attended the parish school there. Salas said she and her husband, an attorney, had just returned from church and had given their only son "a pass on his usher duties." They all had started cleaning up, ending a "glorious" birthday weekend of "love, laughter and smiles."

[Want to discuss politics with other America readers? Join our Facebook discussion group, moderated by America’s writers and editors.]

Now, even as her husband remains in the hospital recovering from multiple surgeries, "we're living every parents' worst nightmare: making preparations to bury our only child," she said.

"My family has experienced a pain no one should ever have to endure," she said. "And I am here asking everyone to help me assure that no one ever has to experience this kind of pain. We may not be able to stop something like this from happening again, but we can make it hard for those who target us to track us down."

She thanked medical personnel as well as federal, state and local authorities who had helped her and her husband and all those who offered prayers for the family.

"To everyone who reached out and to everyone who said a prayer, and to everyone who is keeping my family in your thoughts, thank you," she said crying. "The outpouring of love has been overwhelming, and I can tell you, that it has lifted us during our darkest hours. I just wanna say thank you to you all and I love you."

Salas, the first Latina to serve as a federal judge in New Jersey, was confirmed in 2011 to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

We don’t have comments turned on everywhere anymore. We have recently relaunched the commenting experience at America and are aiming for a more focused commenting experience with better moderation by opening comments on a select number of articles each day.

But we still want your feedback. You can join the conversation about this article with us in social media on Twitter or Facebook, or in one of our Facebook discussion groups for various topics.

Or send us feedback on this article with one of the options below:

We welcome and read all letters to the editor but, due to the volume received, cannot guarantee a response.

In order to be considered for publication, letters should be brief (around 200 words or less) and include the author’s name and geographic location. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

We open comments only on select articles so that we can provide a focused and well-moderated discussion on interesting topics. If you think this article provides the opportunity for such a discussion, please let us know what you'd like to talk about, or what interesting question you think readers might want to respond to.

If we decide to open comments on this article, we will email you to let you know.

If you have a message for the author, we will do our best to pass it along. Note that if the article is from a wire service such as Catholic News Service, Religion News Service, or the Associated Press, we will not have direct contact information for the author. We cannot guarantee a response from any author.

We welcome any information that will help us improve the factual accuracy of this piece. Thank you.

Please consult our Contact Us page for other options to reach us.

When you click submit, this article page will reload. You should see a message at the top of the reloaded page confirming that your feedback has been received.

Advertisement

The latest from america

The Covid-19 pandemic is adding to the financial woes of Catholic schools in inner cities. But better management and creative fundraising may save them, writes Lance L. Lee, a parent of two children in Catholic schools.
Lance LeeSeptember 22, 2020
Sixth-graders sit at their desks on the first day of classes of the new academic year at Our Lady of Victory School in Floral Park, N.Y., on Sept. 8. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
With many public schools still in virtual mode, parents are taking a new look at Catholic education. But Michael O’Loughlin reports that the reprieve from declining enrollment may be temporary.
Michael J. O’LoughlinSeptember 22, 2020
The 16th annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast is dividing Catholics along partisan lines because it will honor President Trump's attorney general a little more than a month before the November election.
Thomas J. ReeseSeptember 22, 2020
The judges are Amy Coney Barrett, a federal appellate court judge in Chicago, and Barbara Lagoa, a federal appeals court judge in Atlanta.