Daniel Anderl was set to begin classes in the next few weeks at Catholic University in Washington, DC.
The 20-year-old was a rising junior who wanted to go into law like his parents, US District Judge Esther Salas and defense attorney Mark Anderl.
“I don’t want to dissuade him, but I was pulling for a doctor,” Salas said in a 2018 profile in the New Jersey Monthly. “He’s been arguing with us since he could talk – practicing his advocacy skills.”
On Sunday, Daniel Anderl opened the door of his parents’ North Brunswick, New Jersey, home to a person who appeared to be wearing a FedEx uniform. Anderl’s father was right behind him as the two were met with a hail of bullets, one law enforcement source said. The gunman fled, the source said.
Daniel was killed.
Authorities say the person suspected of the shooting died of what is believed to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Salas was unharmed in the shooting, but her husband was injured and underwent follow-up surgery Monday afternoon, according to the judge’s brother Carols Salas.
Law enforcement has not been aware of any threats against the judge, the source told CNN. Investigators don’t yet know the motive.
Daniel was a natural athlete, uncle says
While Daniel Anderl had plans to go into law, he was also a gifted athlete, his uncle Carlos Salas said.
“He got good grades. He was an avid sportsman. Golfed, played baseball … he was a natural athlete in every sport he played,” Salas said.
Anderl graduated cum laude from St. Joseph High School in 2018, said Jack Timko, director of external relations at the school.
“He was well-respected, well-liked by his peers and the faculty,” Timko said. “He exemplified what we call a St. Joseph’s man. Well prepared, well educated, respectful, professional.”
At Catholic University, Anderl made the Dean’s List for the Spring 2020 semester.
“I was shocked last night to hear news of Daniel Anderl’s tragic death Sunday evening in New Jersey,” said John Garvey, the school’s president. “Our deepest condolences go out to Daniel’s parents, Esther Salas and Mark Anderl. We pray too for Daniel’s father, who was also shot and is in the hospital.”
David R. Oakley, a partner at Mark Anderl’s firm, said in a statement to CNN that Daniel Anderl wanted to follow in his parents’ footsteps.
“He cared about justice, just as his parents do, because he cared about people,” Oakley said. “Inspired by his Christian faith, he would have carried on the family tradition of service to the system of justice and the community with distinction.”
Salas on her husband: ‘We’ve been inseparable’
Daniel Anderl had “the most devoted parents,” said Ricardo Del Rio, a former New Jersey law partner at Mark Anderl’s firm,
Salas told the New Jersey Monthly in 2018 that she met Mark Anderl when he was an assistant prosecutor in the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and she was a second-year law school intern.
“I was literally getting fingerprinted” when he approached her, she told the magazine. “We’ve been inseparable since 1992.”
Mark Anderl works as a criminal defense attorney with Anderl & Oakley, PC, which specializes in state and federal criminal defense and juvenile and municipal court matters, according to their website.
“He could have been the guy that went out of the way to represent people that nobody else would even talk to,” said Karim Arzadi, a New Jersey defense attorney who was friends with Mark Anderl.
Anderl received his bachelor’s degree in 1979 from Northeastern University and his law degree from Brooklyn Law School in 1983, according to his firm’s website.
His wife became New Jersey’s first Latina US District Court judge in 2011 after she was nominated to the bench by former President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate.
North Brunswick Mayor Francis “Mac” Womack told CNN over the phone Sunday night that Mark Anderl is “one of the most straight-up honest attorneys” he has dealt with.
“He’s a very, very exuberant, vibrant, one hundred percent pleasant person,” Womack said. “He loves to talk about his wife, and he loves to brag about his son, and how his son would excel in baseball, and how he was doing down in college in Washington … I’m just very sorry to see him going through this.”
CNN’s Evan Perez and Eric Levenson contributed to this report.