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Manhunt underway for gunman in New Jersey attack on federal judge's son, husband

Written by on July 20, 2020

A dragnet of federal, state and local law enforcement is on the hunt for the gunman who fatally shot a federal court judge’s son and wounded her husband – all while disguised as a FedEx worker – at their New Jersey home Sunday night, officials announced Monday.

U.S. District Judge Esther Salas’ son, 20-year-old Daniel Anderl, was killed and her husband, defense lawyer Mark Anderl, 63, is in the hospital after the men were shot in the doorway of their North Brunswick home around 5 p.m. Sunday, officials have said.

Salas was in the basement at the time and wasn’t injured, according to the Associated Press. Daniel, a college student, was her only child, officials said.

Daniel Anderl (Saint Joseph High School)

Daniel Anderl (Saint Joseph High School)

The young Aldern, who previously attended St. Joseph High School in Metuchen, N.J., was remembered as “a true friend, a proud Falcon, and an overall wonderful human being,” according to a statement on the school’s website.

“It is with the utmost sadness that we inform you that Dan Anderl ’18 was taken from us last night,” the statement reads. “He will be truly missed. We pray for Dan’s family and friends during this unbelievably difficult time – please know, we are mourning with you.”

North Brunswick Mayor Francis “Mac” Womack told Mark Anderl needed surgery shortly after the attack, but is now in stable condition at an area hospital.

The FBI is investigating the case with the assistance of the U.S. Marshal Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and state and local agencies, according to a series of tweets.

The suspect, who was not in custody as of Monday morning, is believed to have acted alone, posing as a FedEx delivery person.


In a statement provided to Fox News, a FedEx spokesperson said the company is “fully cooperating” with investigators and added: “Our deepest sympathies are with Judge Salas and her family at this time.”

Salas, seated in Newark, was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed in 2011. Prior to that, she served as a U.S. Magistrate Judge in New Jersey, after working as an assistant public defender for several years.

She is the first Hispanic woman to be appointed to the role of U.S. district judge in the state, according to multiple reports.

Asked if officials thought the shooting was linked to the judge’s work or the current climate of political unrest, Chief District Judge Freda Wolfson said, “We really have no idea.”

U.S. District Judge Esther Salas; Mark Anderl (ANDERL & OAKLEY, PC)

U.S. District Judge Esther Salas; Mark Anderl (ANDERL & OAKLEY, PC)

One of Salas’ highest-profile cases in recent years was the financial fraud case involving “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 a statement provided to Fox News, James Leonard Jr., attorney for Teresa Giudice, called the news “absolutely devastating.”


“Teresa was very shaken by the news and was very emotional when she heard about it,” Leonard said. “She told me that she would be praying very heavily for Judge Salas and her family.”

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, 51, was tapped to preside 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.

Fox News’ Marta Dhanis and the Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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