(Reuters) - A self-described anti-feminist lawyer who investigators say killed a federal judge’s son in New Jersey and wounded her husband was found dead on Monday after a manhunt, the FBI said.
The FBI’s Newark office said in a statement that attorney Roy Den Hollander was the sole suspect in the attack on the North Brunswick, New Jersey, home of Esther Salas that killed her 20-year old son and left her husband with gunshot wounds.
Hollander was found earlier on Monday in an apparent suicide about 90 miles (145 km) north of New York City, the Daily Beast and other media reported, citing law enforcement sources.
While the motive for the shooting remained unclear, Hollander had once had a case in front of the judge and had published an online screed filled with misogynistic and racist remarks in which he derided her ethnicity and career.
The attack occurred Sunday evening. Investigators say a man dressed in a FedEx uniform approached the home and opened fire, killing the son, Daniel Anderl, and injuring her husband, 63-year-old defense attorney Mark Anderl. Salas, who was in the basement, was not hurt.
Salas, 51, was nominated to her position by President Barack Obama in 2010 and in the following year became the first Latina to serve on the District Court of New Jersey, a seat from which she presided over a number of high-profile cases.
Those cases included the sentencing of members of the Grape Street Crips, a gang charged with selling drugs and other crimes in 2015, and the convictions of co-stars of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” reality TV show.
She also presided over a 2015 case brought by a New Jersey woman seeking to register for the male-only military draft. Hollander appeared for the plaintiff before being replaced in June 2019, court records show.
It is not clear if that case was connected to the shooting in any way. In 2019 Salas ruled the lawsuit against the Selective Service System could go forward, raising the prospect of a future change to the draft.
Yet in more than 2,000 pages of writings online Hollander disparaged Salas’ ethnicity and dismissed her achievements as the product of affirmative action. “Female judges didn’t bother me as long as they were middle age or older black ladies,” he wrote. Latina judges, on the other hand, were driven by an inferiority complex and “usually trouble,” he said.
It also included some violent references. In advising on the merits of carrying a firearm, he wrote: “When a lunatic shows up with a gun, what do you want for a defense—PC ideology or a six-shooter?”
Hollander’s body was found in a car in the town of Rockland, New York on Monday, ABC News reported. A FedEx package addressed to Salas was discovered in the car, ABC News said.
Mark Anderl is in stable condition after undergoing surgery at a local hospital, North Brunswick Mayor Francis Womack said.
The son was an aspiring lawyer who was a student at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. He had just finished celebrating his 20th birthday with visiting university friends, according to Marion Costanza, a family friend who lives three houses away.
“Now they are never going to see him again,” Costanza said. “I want people to know what a good kid he was.”
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and U.S. Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey were among political leaders who expressed concern about the incident on Twitter.
Menendez said he knew Judge Salas well and had recommended her appointment to the 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,” Menendez wrote.
Reporting by Mark Hosenball in Washington, Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut, and Karen Freifeld and Maria Caspani in New York; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, Dan Grebler, Marguerita Choy and Gerry Doyle
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