Federal Judge Esther Salas, whose son was killed and husband shot, speaks out

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Monday, August 3, 2020
Judge Salas, whose son was killed and husband shot, speaks out
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Derick Waller has more on the judge's emotional video message.

NORTH BRUNSWICK, New Jersey (WABC) -- A federal judge in New Jersey is speaking out for the first time since her son was killed and husband hurt in an apparently targeted shooting.

Federal Judge Esther Salas released an emotional YouTube video message recounting that tragic day on July 19.

"While my husband is still in the hospital recovering from his multiple surgeries, we are living every parent's worst nightmare," Judge Esther Salas said. "Making preparations to bury, bury our only child, Daniel."

She and her son Daniel were cleaning up after celebrating his 20th birthday when the shooter arrived at their home in North Brunswick.

"We were chatting, as we always do," the judge said. "And Daniel said, 'Mom, let's keep talking. I love talking to you, Mom.' And it was at that exact moment that the doorbell rang. And Daniel looked at me and said, 'Who is that?' And before I could say a word, he sprinted upstairs. Within seconds, I heard the sound of bullets and someone scream no. '"

"Daniel, being Daniel, protected his father," she continued. "And he took the shooter's first bullet directly to the chest. The monster then turns his attention to my husband. And began to shoot at my husband."

WATCH: Judge Salas' full statement

Police believe Roy Den Hollander was targeting Judge Salas when he attacked her family while posing as a FedEx driver.

He was later found dead by suicide.

Judge Salas is calling for action to address the lack of privacy afforded to federal judges.

"I am begging those who are in power to do something," she said. "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."

WATCH: NewsCopter 7 over the investigation

U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker from New Jersey gave a joint statement on Judge Salas' emotional video.

"What happened to Judge Esther Salas and her family is a tragedy of unspeakable proportions. No judge should ever feel unsafe or threatened because they have answered the call of public service to uphold justice. In recent days, we have expressed our commitment to Judge Salas and her family to take action to find a solution to safeguard federal judges.To that end, we are working together on legislation to better protect against potential threats to federal judges and their families. The tragedy experienced by the Anderl-Salas family should give us the sense of urgency to act to protect all federal judges. There's no time to waste."

MORE: Three arrested after 12-year-old shot in Jersey City


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