What to Know
- Authorities believe a man found dead in NY Monday was the shooter who killed a New Jersey federal judge's son and wounded her husband at their home on Sunday, law enforcement sources say
- The two were shot at Judge Esther Salas' North Brunswick home Sunday afternoon; she was believed to be in the basement at the time and wasn't injured
- The body of attorney Roy Den Hollander was found on a property in the Sullivan County town of Rockland; authorities are looking into whether a package or envelope addressed to the judge may have been found nearby
Investigators believe a gun recovered from the apparent suicide scene of an attorney in upstate New York matches the one used to kill a New Jersey federal judge's son and wound her husband Sunday, law enforcement sources say.
They're also testing it to see if it may be linked to another murder on the other side of the country, a senior law enforcement official told News 4 Tuesday.
The gun found at the scene where authorities discovered the body of attorney Roy Den Hollander was a Walther .380 caliber handgun, a senior law enforcement official told News 4 Tuesday. Investigators say it may be the same weapon used to kill Judge Esther Salas' 20-year-old son at her North Brunswick, New Jersey, home Monday, but ballistic results are pending. Sources said Monday they believe Den Hollander, a self-described "men's rights" activist, was the person who showed up at the house and opened fire.
Salas' husband was critically injured in the shooting and was undergoing another surgery Tuesday for his wounds, sources said.
Authorities have also been looking into whether Den Hollander may have possibly been linked to a killing in California earlier this month. A file or envelope that may have been meant for Salas was found near his body, sources said.
Some of the information in the packet may have contained details about a prominent men's rights figure in California who was killed July 11. Investigators will test the gun found at the Den Hollander death scene to see if it fired the fatal rounds in that case as well, the senior law enforcement official said.
Sources say investigators also found material about Judge Janet DiFiore, the chief judge of the state of New York. The FBI briefed DiFiore of the information on her that had been found in the suspect's car, a court spokesperson said. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday the state would provide her additional protection.
The investigation stems from the shootings of Salas' son Daniel, and her husband, well-regarded criminal defense attorney Mark Anderl. Both were shot at their home in North Brunswick around 5 p.m. Sunday. The son later died.
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.
Some reports indicated the shooter may have been dressed as some sort of delivery driver. FedEx issued a statement Monday saying only it was fully cooperating with authorities and, “Our deepest sympathies are with Judge Salas and her family at this time."
Den Hollander was a notoriously anti-feminist men's rights attorney, whose vitriolic website and book condemn women in rage-filled terms. In one of his books, he specifically blasted Salas by name as "lazy and incompetent" and said her only accomplishment was being a high school cheerleader. Den Hollander appeared in her court at one time as counsel in a lawsuit over the all-male military draft.
(Den Hollander previously sued multiple anchors and reporters from NBC News and other networks, alleging they engaged in an illegal conspiracy to prevent Donald Trump's election to the presidency.)
Den Hollander was best known previously for unsuccessful lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of “ladies night” promotions at bars and nightclubs. His litigation, and willingness to appear on television, earned him spots on The Colbert Report and MSNBC.
Another lawsuit argued night clubs were violating human rights by charging men hundreds of dollars for bottle service. In 2008, he unsuccessfully sued Columbia University for providing women’s studies classes, saying they were “a bastion of bigotry against men.”
Den Hollander filed for bankruptcy in 2011, citing more than $120,000 in credit card debt, as well as rent and other expenses. In the filing, Den Hollander estimated he made about $300 a month from his work, with the bulk of his income coming from a $724 monthly Social Security payment.
In more than 2,000 pages of often misogynistic, racist writings, Den Hollander criticized Salas’ life story of being abandoned by her father and raised by her poor mother as “the usual effort to blame a man and turn someone into super girl.”
Salas, a judge of the U.S. District Court for New Jersey in Newark, has been in her seat for nine years. Salas has presided over a number of high-profile trials in her tenure, including the trial of "Real Housewife" Teresa Giudice.
Her and Anderl's son Daniel was the only child and he was studying law to follow in his parents' footsteps. He graduated cum laude with honors from St. Joseph's High School in 2018 and was enrolled at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
"Daniel was a rising junior, enrolled for classes beginning in the next few weeks. He turned 20 last week," a statement from the university read.
New Jersey's political leaders were 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.”