A New Jersey judge said she’s moving forward, but not moving on, a year after a crazed lawyer killed her son in an attack meant for her.
Federal Judge Esther Salas told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that she has forgiven the killer who showed up to her family’s home disguised as a deliveryman — then fatally shot her 20-year-old son, Daniel Ander, and wounded her husband, Mark Anderl.
“Love is light, and it’s so true you can’t walk around with that burden of resentment, hate,” Salas said in an interview that aired Monday, the year anniversary of the shooting. “It’s like an anchor – it holds you down.”
Roy Den, an “anti-feminist” lawyer who had argued a case before Salas, tracked the judge down to her North Brunswick home and blasted away when Mark opened the door, striking the husband and her son. Den later shot himself dead.
“I realize that in some part, it’s important to forgive,” Salas told “GMA.” “It helps you be open to the love that people want to give … And I think it helps the person that’s injured to also move forward – not on – but move forward.”
Salas said her faith has helped her get through the trauma of the last year, which has included her husband’s bumpy recovery from having been shot three times.
“I don’t want to sugarcoat some of the depths of our despair at moments,” she said. “Mark, thank goodness, is thriving, but we had some scares. We’re traveling this journey together.”
Salas returned to the bench this year.
“This man took the most important thing in my life — he will take nothing else,” she said of Den.
To keep her son’s memory alive, the judge has been lobbying Congress to adopt a law that would block federal judges’ and their families’ personal information such as addresses from being made public.
“This is what the shooter did in my case — he took all of that available information,” Salas said.
Authorities had said Den kept a dossier on Salas, and the judge added that he knew information about where she went to church, where her husband went to work and where her son had gone to school.
Den had written about Salas on a Web site speaking about how she looked and noting her Latina background.
“I think we need to send a message,” the judge said. “We are not going to allow the constitutional principles we’ve lived by to be attacked. It’s not lost on me that this man hated me because I was a woman, but he also hated me because I was Latina.”
Her husband displayed his resilience when he crawled onto the porch after being shot to try to get the shooter’s license plate, she said.
Mark Anderl told “Good Morning America” his adrenaline was flowing.
He added sadly of his son, “I knew Daniel was not gonna make it.
“Just from being with him, I just could tell.”