NEW JERSEY - A man found dead in the Catskills in upstate New York may have been behind the shooting of a federal judge's son and husband.
Investigators are examining a possible connection between the shooting and the body of a self-described "anti-feminist" lawyer found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in Sullivan County, New York, a law enforcement official said.
The man, identified as Roy Den Hollander, an attorney based in New York City, is being investigated in connection with the shooting, officials told The Associated Press. Hollander had appeared before the judge in the past, the officials said.
He had received media attention for filing lawsuits challenging perceived infringements of "men's rights."
A gunman shot and killed the 20-year-old son of a federal judge as he answered the door of the family home on Sunday. The gunman also shot and wounded the judge's husband before fleeing, according to judiciary officials.
The shootings occurred at the North Brunswick, New Jersey home of U.S. District Judge Esther Salas, and killed her son, Daniel, Chief District Judge Freda Wolfson told The Associated Press. Her husband, defense lawyer Mark Anderl, was injured in the attack, Wolfson said.
Salas was in the basement at the time and wasn’t injured, according to a judiciary official who wasn’t authorized to comment and spoke anonymously to the AP.
The perpetrator was believed to be a lone gunman posing as a FedEx delivery person.
Salas, seated in Newark, was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed in 2011. Prior to that, she served as a U.S. Magistrate Judge in New Jersey, after working as an assistant public defender for several years.
In more than 2,000 pages of often misogynistic, racist writings, Den Hollander criticized Salas’ life story of being abandoned by her father and raised by her poor mother as “the usual effort to blame a man and turn someone into super girl.”
In another section — part of a collection posted online that resembled an early draft of a memoir — he wrote about being treated recently for cancer, and wanting to use the rest of his time to “wrap up his affairs.”
“No more chances now, if there ever really were any, for glory and fortune, but maybe a little old time justice as in all those 1950s television westerns I watched as a kid when the lone cowboy refused to give up without a fight,” he wrote. “The only problem with a life lived too long under Feminazi rule is that a man ends up with so many enemies he can’t even the score with all of them. But law school and the media taught me how to prioritize."
Den Hollander’s writings also point to a possible connection to the area where he was found dead. He described going to a family cabin in the Catskills community of Beaverkill, about 40 minutes by car from Liberty.
Den Hollander filed for bankruptcy in 2011, citing more than $120,000 in credit card debt, as well as rent and other expenses. In the filing, Den Hollander estimated he made about $300 a month from his work, with the bulk of his income coming from a $724 monthly Social Security payment.
Salas, born in California to a Cuban immigrant mother and Mexican father, spent most of her childhood in Union City, New Jersey. After helping her family escape a devastating house fire, she acted as her mother’s translator and advocate, foreshadowing her career in law as she argued her family’s case to welfare officials, according to a 2018 magazine profile.
In the profile, Salas spoke of her son possibly following his parents into the legal profession.
“He’s been arguing with us since he could talk — practicing his advocacy skills," Salas told New Jersey Monthly. “I don't want to dissuade him, but I was pulling for a doctor.”
Several college friends had spent the weekend visiting Daniel for his birthday, leaving just hours before the shooting, neighbor Marion Costanza said.
“These are people that will never see their friend again. Then to think of Esther losing her only child. It’s just devastating,” said Costanza, a lawyer who watched Daniel grow up, and had dinner plans this coming week with his parents.
“I want the world to know what a beautiful kid this was,” she said. “It’s just devastating.”
Salas' highest-profile case in recent years was the financial fraud case involving husband-and-wife “Real Housewives of New Jersey” reality TV stars Teresa and Joe Giudice, whom Salas sentenced to prison for crimes including bankruptcy fraud and tax evasion.
Attorney General William Barr said in a statement Monday that the FBI and the U.S. Marshals will continue investigating the shooting, adding: “This kind of lawless, evil action carried out against a member of the federal judiciary will not be tolerated.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.