N.J. Judge Talked About Raising Son to Show Respect, Compassion 2 Years Before Slaying

Judge Esther Salas told her son, Daniel, 20, "to speak to the janitor with the same respect that you would show to [U.S. Supreme Court Chief] Justice Roberts," according to a 2018 New Jersey Monthly interview

As Judge Esther Salas spoke to a class of attentive fourth graders about her work on the federal bench during a career day at a New Jersey school last year, she went around the room and asked every child his or her name.

"When she got to my student and he said, 'My name is Daniel' she smiled and said, 'My most favorite person in the world is named Daniel, that's my son,'" teacher Andrea Nicholas, 44, of Hamilton Intermediate School in Harrison, NJ, tells PEOPLE of the June 2019, visit. "You could tell this kid was her world."

On Sunday afternoon, Salas' son, Daniel Aderl, 20, was fatally shot while his father, attorney Mark Anderl, was shot multiple times but survived by a gunman alleged dressed as a FedEx delivery driver at the family's North Brunswick Township home. Salas, who was in the basement, was not injured during the attack.

The alleged gunman, Roy Den Hollander, has died by suicide, according to a statement by the United States Attorney's Office in New Jersey.

"When I saw this on the news I was heartbroken for her," says Nicholas. "I can't imagine losing your only child and in this way."

Esther Salas, Daniel Anderl
Esther Salas and her son, Daniel Anderl. Rutgers; Daniel Anderl/Twitter

Salas, 51, the youngest child of Mexican and Cuban immigrants, and New Jersey's first Latina U.S. District Court judge, told New Jersey Monthly in 2018 that she could see Daniel following in her footsteps to become an attorney.

“I don’t want to dissuade him, but I was pulling for a doctor,” Salas told the magazine. “He’s been arguing with us since he could talk — practicing his advocacy skills.”

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She also shared how she taught Daniel her mother's mantra: “Tu no eres mejor que nadie, pero nadie es mejor que tu," which in English means, "You are not better than anyone, but no one is better than you."

Daniel Anderl
Daniel Anderl. Daniel Anderl/Twitter

“It’s a profound way to live your life—to speak to the janitor with the same respect that you would show to [U.S. Supreme Court Chief] Justice Roberts,” Salas told NJ Monthly. “It also means, in the end, you have to be respected too.”

Daniel was going to start his junior year at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and he made its School of Arts and Sciences Dean's List for the spring semester, reports MyCentralJersey.com.

Daniel graduated from St. Joseph High School in Metuchen, N.J. in 2018, and was a standout lefthanded pitcher for the championship team that won the 2017 Greater Middlesex County Conference baseball tournament.

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