Two family members of a federal judge were shot at their home in New Jersey by an unknown assailant, according to multiple media reports.
NBC New York reported the gunman arrived at the home of Judge Esther Salas in North Brunswick, New Jersey around 5 p.m. on Sunday. The person shot Salas’ son when he answered the door and then shot her husband multiple times before fleeing. Salas is not believed to have been injured.
The mayor of North Brunswick, Mac Womack, told ABC News Salas’ son had died. Her husband is believed to be in critical condition. The suspect has not been apprehended, but investigators told the outlet the suspect may have been dressed as a FedEx driver.
The intended target of the attack was not immediately clear. Salas’ husband, Mark Anderl, is a criminal defense attorney.
“The FBI is investigating a shooting that occurred at the home of Judge Esther Salas in North Brunswick Township, New Jersey earlier this evening,” the FBI told HuffPost in a statement, noting investigators were looking for one suspect. “We are working closely with our state and local partners and will provide additional updates when available.”
Judge Salas and her family are in our thoughts at this time as they cope with this senseless act. https://t.co/3mOYBSd6TA
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) July 20, 2020
Salas has been a judge on the U.S. District Court for New Jersey in Newark for nine years and is the first Hispanic woman to serve on the federal bench in the state.
She has presided over several high-profile cases, most recently the trial of Teresa Giudice, a former star on “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.”
“My prayers are with Judge Salas and her family, and that those responsible for this horrendous act are swiftly apprehended and brought to justice,” New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez (D) told The Associated Press on Sunday night.
The Newark office of the U.S. Marshals Service, which is charged with the protection of federal judges but typically does not guard judges around the clock absent a specific threat, said it was investigating the shooting late Sunday.
“The U.S. Marshals Service is aware of the tragic incident involving Esther Salas, United States District Judge for the District of New Jersey, and her family and is currently investigating. The U.S. Marshals Service is responsible for the protection of federal judicial officials and we take that responsibility very seriously.”
Womack said Salas had received threats in the past.
“As a judge, she had threats from time to time, but everyone is saying that recently there had not been any,” the mayor told ABC.
In the 2019 fiscal year, the U.S. Marshals Service reported 4,449 threats or inappropriate communications to those they protect, up from just 926 in 2015. The U.S. Marshals Service said it opened 373 predicated protective investigations, the most serious kind of inquiry, in 2019.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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