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."
“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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