After a gruesome shooting attack on her family just last month, a US District Judge in New Jersey is demanding more protection for federal judges.
Judge Esther Salas spoke out publicly for the first time this week after a man dressed as a delivery driver ambushed her husband and son in a hail of bullets at her own front door last month. Salas's son, 20-year-old Anderl, died at the scene. Her husband, Mark Anderl, is still recovering in a hospital after being struck with three bullets.
"We are living every parent's worst nightmare: making preparations to bury our only child, Daniel," Salas said through tears in the statement. She described, in detail, the events that transpired that evening and how her college student son rushed to the aid of his father when a stranger came to their house.
"This monster, who had a FedEx package in his hand, opened fire," Salas said. Just seconds earlier, she had been chatting with her son in the basement.
"I love talking to you," Salas recalled as the last thing Daniel said to her. He was struck in the chest as he attempted to defend his father.
The suspect in the shooting, Manhattan attorney Roy Den Hollander, was found dead in the Catskills, New York, hours after a massive manhunt following the shooting at Salas's home. Hollander, a self-described anti-feminist, was found dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Authorities have said that evidence recovered at the scene where Hollander's body was found also linked him to the murder of a men's rights attorney in California. Marc Angelucci, 52, was found shot to death in his home on July 11, just over a week before the attack on Salas's son and husband.
In the emotional video, Judge Salas called for more protection to be given to federal judges. In the administration of justice, she said, enemies can be made when decisions are made that people disagree with. Those decisions can easily make them targets and their private information is too readily available to potentially dangerous people.
"We may not be able to stop something like this from happening again, but we can make it hard for those who target us to track us down ... In my case, the monster knew where I lived, what church we attended, and had a complete dossier on my life and family."
The U.S. Marshal's service reported that nearly 5,000 threats had been made against federal judges in 2019, a number several times higher than previous years.
Hollander, 69, was said to have recently received a terminal cancer diagnosis that led him to compile a list of enemies on whom he wished to take revenge. He had previously written extensively negative things about Salas after running up against her in court. Similar rifts between Hollander and Angelucci were noted by acquaintances.
Although the Marshals provide some protection for federal judges in high profile cases, Salas's isn't the first occasion in which more protection has been requested. Following the 2005 murders of her mother and husband, federal judge Joan Lefkow lobbied Congress for more consistent protection for high-profile judges.
"To everyone who reached out, and to everyone who said a prayer, and to everyone who is keeping my family in your thoughts, thank you," Salas said in the final moments of her statement. "It is lifting us in our darkest hours."