News media is set up in front of the home of U.S. District Judge Esther Salas, Monday, July 20, 2020, in North Brunswick, N.J. A gunman posing as a delivery person shot and killed Salas’ 20-year-old son and wounded her husband Sunday evening at their New Jersey home before fleeing, according to judiciary officials.
Mark Lennihan | AP
The husband and son of a New Jersey federal judge were shot at their home Sunday afternoon, and a massive law enforcement response is underway.
Three senior law enforcement officials tell News 4 New York that a gunman shot Judge Esther Salas’ spouse and her 20-year-old son their North Brunswick home around 5 p.m. Sunday. North Brunswick’s mayor confirmed the son’s death; the husband is in critical condition.
Preliminary indications are that the husband answered the door and was shot multiple times; the son came running to the door and was shot as well before the gunman fled, the sources said. Judge Salas was believed to be in the basement at the time of the shooting, and she was not injured.
Salas, a judge of the U.S. District Court for New Jersey in Newark, has been in her seat for nine years. Before that she spent five years as a magistrate judge, and nine years prior to that as a federal public defender.
She is the first Hispanic woman to serve on the federal bench in New Jersey.
Salas has presided over a number of high-profile trials in her tenure, including the trial of former “Real Housewife” Teresa Giudice.
Her husband, Mark Anderl, is a well-regarded criminal defense attorney.
The FBI, U.S. Marshals, New Jersey State Police and the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General all have personnel on scene investigating, and the FBI tweeted it was looking for “one subject” in the shooting.
“The FBI is investigating a shooting that took place at the home of Judge Esther Salas in North Brunswick Township, NJ early this evening July 19. We are working closely with our state and local partners and will provide additional updates when available,” the bureau said in a statement.
New Jersey political leaders were also quick to react to the shootings.
“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. My prayers are with Judge Salas and her family, and that those responsible for this horrendous act are swiftly apprehended and brought to justice,” Sen. Bob Menendez said in a statement.
In a statement, Gov. Phil Murphy said, “Judge Salas and her family are in our thoughts at this time as they cope with this senseless act. This tragedy is our latest reminder that gun violence remains a crisis in our country and that our work to make every community safer isn’t done.”
This is a developing story.