A few weeks ago, U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas experienced what no wife and mother should ever endure. A disgruntled lawyer appeared at her New Jersey home posing as a FedEx delivery man, and when her son and husband opened the door, he shot and killed her 20-year old Catholic University junior and gravely injured her husband.
In an emotional YouTube video, Judge Salas recounted the details of the family’s celebratory weekend gone horribly wrong. After hosting a birthday party for her son, Daniel, attended by some of his college friends, Judge Salas and he were talking together in the basement when the doorbell rang. Daniel ran to see who it was, and along with his father, Mark Anderl, opened the front door. The gunmen opened fire, killing Daniel with his first shot, and then turned his weapon on Anderl, who required multiple surgeries for three gunshot wounds.
In the video, the judge pleads for help in protecting judges, whose daily job is making difficult choices that sometimes anger the lawyers and clients who appear before them.
“The free flow of information from the Internet allowed this sick and depraved human being to find all our personal information and target us,” she continued. “Currently, federal judges’ addresses and other information is readily available on the Internet. In addition, there are companies that will sell your personal details that can be leveraged for nefarious purposes.”
“In my case, the monster knew where I lived and what church we attended and had a complete dossier on me and my family,” Salas said. “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.”
The U.S. Marshals Service protects approximately 2,200 federal judges and over 26,000 federal prosecutors and court personnel, and threats have increased significantly in recent years.
The gunman, Roy Den Hollander, was a self-proclaimed men’s rights activist who had appeared in Salas’ courtroom. He was later found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was also suspected in the recent killing of a California man. Den Hollander was carrying a list of names when his body was found, and authorities suspect it was a “hit list” of potential victims.
“We are living every parent’s worst nightmare making preparations to bury our only child, Daniel,” the judge said in the video. “My family has experienced a pain that no one should ever have to endure, and I am here asking everyone to help me ensure that no one ever has to experience this kind of pain.”
Photo from YouTube
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