New Jersey District Judge Esther Salas called for better protection of the privacy and safety of judges in a video statement released Monday describing the tragic killing of her son, who died protecting his parents from a gunman who was targeting Salas.
The shooting happened on Sunday, July 19, while Salas and her son Daniel Anderl were cleaning up from the celebrations for Daniel’s 20th birthday the night before. Salas said that after ringing the doorbell, the gunman, a “monster, who had a FedEx package in his hand, opened fire, but Daniel being Daniel, protected his father, and he took the shooter’s first bullet directly to the chest.” Salas continued by describing how “the monster then turned his attention to my husband and began to shoot at my husband, one shot after another. Mark was shot three times. One bullet entered his right chest, the other his left abdomen, and the last one in the right forearm.” Salas’ husband, Mark Anderl, is currently recovering in the hospital from his wounds.
The gunman was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot days after attacking the Salas’ family. The FBI has linked the attack to another killing eight days earlier on the other side of the country where men’s rights lawyer Mark Angelucci, 52, was killed outside his San Bernardino County, California home.
Salas and Angelucci were reportedly among over a dozen public officials and individuals who the gunman had compiled dossiers on in an apparent hit list. Salas called on lawmakers to take actions to protect better the privacy of judges, saying that, “Now more than ever, we need to identify a solution that keeps the lives of federal judges private.” She continued:
As federal judges, we understand that our decisions will be scrutinized, and some may disagree strongly with our rulings. We know that our job requires us to make tough calls, and sometimes those calls can leave people angry and upset. That comes with the territory and we accept that. But what we cannot accept is when we are forced to live in fear for our lives because personal information, like our home addresses, can easily be obtained by anyone seeking to do us or our families harm.
She added, “Unfortunately, for my family, the threat was real, and 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 also said that “federal judges’ addresses and other information is readily available on the internet” and “there are companies that will sell your personal details that can be leveraged for nefarious purposes.”