Everything We Know About the Shooting at a Federal Judge’s Home in New Jersey

Judge Esther Salas during an appearance at a 2017 lecture series at Rutgers Law School. Photo: Rutgers Law School

On Sunday, a gunman killed the 20-year-old son of Judge Esther Salas in her home in North Brunswick, New Jersey. Salas’s husband was also shot and injured. Although the U.S. district judge for the District of New Jersey was home at the time, she was uninjured. The shooter has been identified as lawyer and self-professed “anti-feminist” activist Roy Den Hollander, who was later found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and who may have been behind the recent murder of another men’s-rights activist in California. Below is everything we know about the shooting, which is being investigated by U.S. Marshals and the FBI.

The shooting in North Brunswick

On Sunday around 5 p.m., investigators state, a person dressed as a FedEx driver arrived at the home, shooting Salas’s son, Daniel Anderl, when he opened the door. “He was shot through the heart,” North Brunswick mayor Francis Womack, a friend of the family, told ABC News. Salas’s husband, Mark Anderl, was also shot multiple times. Mayor Womack told ABC that Salas was in the home during the shooting but was in a different part of the house; the Associated Press reports that Salas was in the basement of the home.

The victims

Salas’s husband, 63-year-old Mark Anderl, is a criminal-trial attorney and a partner in a law firm specializing in state and criminal defense. Prior to going into private practice, he was an assistant prosecutor in Essex County. Anderl underwent surgery and is in stable condition, according to Womack. Salas’s son, Mark Anderl, was a junior at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

The suspect

The Daily Beast reported on Monday that the gunman was lawyer and 72-year-old men’s-rights activist Roy Den Hollander, who was found dead in Rockland, New York, of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound. Den Hollander, who referred to himself as an “anti-feminist” and repeatedly expressed misogynistic and racist views online, had also made numerous derogatory comments about Judge Salas — who he once had a case before in 2015, BuzzFeed News reported Monday:

Hollander, the suspect, apparently came into contact with Salas through a case in which he pushed to overturn the military’s men-only draft, which she had presided over as judge and last year ruled in favor of his client. But in a more than 1,700-page autobiography uploaded to the Internet Archive on March 22, Hollander revealed a deep-seated anti-woman ideology and expressed a personal grudge against Salas, whom he slandered repeatedly.

The FBI is also investigating whether Den Hollander was involved in the recent murder of a fellow lawyer and men’s-rights activist in California, the Guardian reported Tuesday:

Federal agents are now exploring whether Den Hollander had any role in the killing of Marc Angelucci, a men’s rights lawyer who was shot dead in southern California earlier this month, according to Associated Press …

The [New Jersey] shooting bore similarities to Angelucci’s murder, an FBI official told the Associated Press. In both incidents the suspect posed as a FedEx driver before opening fire. Angelucci, 52, was killed at his home in San Bernardino county on 11 July. Investigators are examining Den Hollander’s financial and travel records, as well as misogynistic missives he posted online, the official said, to determine whether he was responsible for shooting Angelucci.

The California lawyer was the vice-president of the National Coalition for Men, an organization which “raises awareness about the ways sex discrimination affects men and boys”, according to its website.

The Daily Beast also reports that there were papers referring to Angelucci in or around the car where Den Hollander died by suicide.

Den Hollander had filed numerous “anti-feminist” lawsuits over the years. In 2007, The New Yorker reported on his efforts to sue several nightclubs to prevent them from having ladies’ nights. In the article, Hollander comes across as someone obsessed with fighting what he perceived to be widespread discrimination against men and produces during one interview “a typed forty-one-point list headed ‘Discrimination against men in America.’ (Sample gripes: child-custody laws, circumcision, ‘5% of females have borderline personality disorder.’)” Den Hollander, who has written that he had terminal cancer, has also sued universities for having women’s-studies programs and may have abused his ex-wife, BuzzFeed News also noted:

He vehemently opposed the Violence Against Women Act, a viewpoint he apparently took up after his wife, who he met in Russia and took back with him to the US, accused him of abuse. In a diatribe on his website, he accused her of being a sex worker who tricked him into marriage for a green card.

Den Hollander had also previously advocated for armed rebellion in support of men’s rights. In 2015, he wrote in a post, “The future prospect of the Men’s Movement raising enough money to exercise some influence in America is unlikely. But there is one remaining source of power in which men still have a near monopoly — firearms.” He then added, “At some point, the men in this country will take the Declaration of Independence literally,” before quoting the part that says, “[W]hen a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for their future security.”

In another piece of writing, Den Hollander warned, “The Feminists should be careful in their meddling with nature. There are 300 million firearms in this country, and most of them are owned by guys.” He also said he had volunteered for the Trump campaign — and in 2016 he tried to back up the then–presidential candidate by suing seven journalists he viewed as anti-Trump.

Despite — and often because of — his extremist views, Den Hollander has received a significant amount of media coverage over the years as well, including a 2011 appearance on The Colbert Report.

On Sunday, the FBI alerted the public that its agents were looking for “one subject” who may have been posing as a FedEx employee or delivery driver to allow for easy access to Salas’s home. The U.S. Marshals Service, which protects federal judges, is also investigating.

A law-enforcement official told ABC News that Salas had faced threats in the past. “As a judge, she had threats from time to time, but everyone is saying that recently there had not been any,” said Mayor Womack.

Who is Judge Salas?

Salas, the first Latina to serve on the federal bench in New Jersey, was nominated by President Obama to the U.S. District Court in 2010 after serving earlier in her career as a magistrate judge and an assistant federal public defender. In 2014, she sentenced a husband and wife from The Real Housewives of New Jersey to 41 months and 15 months, respectively, for bankruptcy fraud and tax evasion. She is currently overseeing a case in which investors have sued Deutsche Bank for allegedly making misleading statements about its failure to monitor money-laundering operations and “high-risk” clients like Jeffrey Epstein. Authorities have not linked the shooting to the Deutsche Bank case.

This post has been updated throughout to incorporate additional reporting.

What We Know About the Shooting at a Federal Judge’s NJ Home