• The Star Staff

Husband and son of federal judge shot in New Jersey

Police outside the home of the federal judge, Esther Salas, in North Brunswick, N.J., early on Monday, July 20, 2020.

By Neil Vigdor and Aimee Ortiz

A gunman shot the son of a federal judge at her home in New Jersey on Sunday, according to an official with knowledge of the situation. The Associated Press reported that he had died and that the judge’s husband also had been shot.

The judge, Esther Salas, was home at the time of the shooting at her residence in North Brunswick, New Jersey, but was not injured, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the authorities had not made any public statements.

Her son, Daniel Anderl, a college student, died in the shooting and her husband, Mark Anderl, was injured, Chief District Judge Freda Wolfson told The Associated Press.

The FBI office in Newark said Sunday night that it was looking for “one subject” in relation to the shooting.

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., expressed his sorrow in a statement Sunday night.

“I know Judge Salas and her husband well, and was proud to recommend her to President Obama for nomination to New Jersey’s federal bench,” Menendez said. “My prayers are with Judge Salas and her family, and that those responsible for this horrendous act are swiftly apprehended and brought to justice.”

Menendez was the mayor of Union City, New Jersey, which is where Salas grew up. Both have parents who emigrated from Cuba.

Francis Womack, mayor of North Brunswick, wrote on Twitter that “no words can express the sadness and loss we share tonight as a community” after the shooting.

“We commit to do all we can to support the family in this time, as well as all law enforcement agencies involved,” he added.

The shooting happened around 5 p.m. Eastern time, according to Marion Costanza, who lives three doors down from Salas’ home in the Hidden Lake neighborhood of North Brunswick.

Federal agents and police officers went door to door on Sunday night interviewing neighbors. Police tape blocked off the front lawn and driveway of the family’s colonial home. A North Brunswick police cruiser was parked outside the house, and two police officers stood sentinel outside the front door. An American flag was planted in the ground, illuminated by a floodlight.

Costanza said that Salas previously remarked that being a public figure could make her a target.

“She had some high-profile cases, and she was always a little concerned,” said Costanza, who attended Salas’ swearing-in ceremony when she became a federal judge.

Costanza said that the judge and her family were caring neighbors, and recalled the time when Daniel Anderl brought her supplies during a snowstorm.

“There’s no one like them,” she said. “They’re extremely good-natured. They would do anything for anyone.”

The younger Anderl went to Saint Joseph High School in Metuchen, New Jersey, and played baseball, according to Costanza, who said that Salas had been wistful when her son went off to Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

“I think she cried for a week, and that’s just in D.C.,” she said. “He was her only child.”

Salas was the first Hispanic woman to serve as a federal judge in New Jersey.

President Barack Obama nominated her to the U.S. District Court for New Jersey in 2010. She had previously served as a magistrate judge and an assistant federal public defender.

Last week, Salas was assigned to a class-action lawsuit filed by a group of investors against Deutsche Bank, contending that the firm had failed to flag questionable transactions that were made from the account of the financier Jeffrey Epstein, who died in August while in jail awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.

In 2014, Salas sentenced two married stars of the “Real Housewives of New Jersey” television show to prison time after the couple pleaded guilty to fraud charges.

Salas sentenced one of the stars, Teresa Giudice, to 15 months in prison and her husband, Giuseppe Giudice, known as Joe, to 41 months. The judge staggered the sentences because of the couple’s four young daughters, The Associated Press reported.

Salas met her husband, a defense lawyer, when he was a prosecutor in the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, according to a 2018 profile of her in New Jersey Monthly.

“We’ve been inseparable since 1992,” she told the magazine.