Last Updated Feb 21, 2021 2:23 AM EST
In July 2020, Daniel Anderl, the son of federal Judge Esther Salas and attorney Mark Anderl, was shot dead by a gunman at the front door of the family's New Jersey home.
Daniel Anderl, 20, took a bullet to his chest trying to protect his parents. By the time Judge Salas came to the door, the killer was gone. Her husband, Mark, was wounded.
"I have direct evidence that he died heroically, that he had a holy death," says David Oakley, Daniel Anderl's godfather and a family friend.
The stranger who came to Judge Salas' door had been holding a package, posing as a deliveryman. Just eight days earlier, a chillingly similar incident took place in California. When attorney Marc Angelucci came to his door to sign for a package, he was also shot dead.
"He was just a down-to-earth, at the center of his soul a good-hearted person," Marc's friend, Cassie Jaye, tells CBS News correspondent Tracy Smith. "[Sighs] I was trying to make sense of who could do something so awful to Marc of all people."
Investigators would later link the two crimes to one killer, a man with perceived grievances against both Marc Angelucci and Judge Salas. That man was found with a fatal self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head.
"We were dealing with an unstable person who, I think it's fair to say, was a coward," said FBI incident commander Joe Denahan.
Judge Salas believes the free flow of information on the Internet made it easy to find her personal details. She pushed for legislation to change that and in November 2020 Daniel's Law was signed by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. A similar bill was introduced in Congress last year.
"I am profoundly moved by seeing how Mark and Esther are dealing with this unspeakable event," says Anderl family friend David Oakley. "They've turned this into something positive for others.
Documentary film maker Cassie Jaye still has a hard time grasping that her close friend, Marc Angelucci, is dead.
Cassie Jaye: We almost had a kind of brother-sisterly love for each other and respect. And he was my biggest protector and also my biggest cheerleader.
Angelucci had been living in Cedar Pines Park, California, a sleepy little village in the San Bernardino mountains, east of Los Angeles. It was broad daylight when he came to his door to sign for that package on July 11, 2020. The 52-year-old attorney never had a chance: he was shot point-blank.
Hermela Aregawi reported the story for CBS 2 Los Angeles.
Hermela Aregawi: This … looked like a targeted assassination. … It was actually someone else who answered the door. But the delivery man insisted that Angelucci sign for the package.
Detectives would learn that the shooter had used a .380 caliber handgun but had precious few clues about his identity. He got away in a white car before anyone could stop him.
Hermela Aregawi: It was. at the time, a complete mystery to everyone. The detectives couldn't tell us much. The sheriff's department didn't have much either.
Cassie was nearly 500 miles away at her home in Marin County.
Tracy Smith: Tell us about Marc. Who was Marc Angelucci?
Cassie Jaye: Ohhhh, if you could think of the most humble, sincere, fun … that was Marc. … and all of his friends will tell you that.
Marc was popular, and photos he posted online show his spirit. But he never married nor had any children. A sought-after attorney, his passion was his work.
Tracy Smith: So, when you say prominent attorney, I picture fancy suit, nice car, big house. Was that Marc?
Cassie Jaye: Not at all. I mean, he couldn't be more opposite than that. … He had a beat-up car, an old car. … he was not a materialistic person by any means.
And he had a rare and controversial specialty: gender discrimination against men. He often spoke at conferences:
MARC ANGELUCCI [speaking at conference]: I believe we need to hold people accountable for false accusations and not just talk about it.
Cassie Jaye: I met Marc … when I went to interview him for my feature documentary, "The Red Pill", which is about the men's rights movement. And at the time, I was very skeptical … I had been working on films about women's issues — my entire adult life.
CASSIE JAYE ["The Red Pill"]: why do you think men's issues have been ignored for so long?
MARC ANGELUCCI ["The Red Pill"]: I think there are a number of reasons … and one of them is simply that men are conditioned not to complain as much, especially if it's about a gender issue
Marc was not making a case for male supremacy, she says. What's more, he was not like the men she met who came to the men's rights movement after going through a bitter divorce or custody battle.
Cassie: So, it was more of a — fight for justice in his eyes, that we should all be treated equally.
MARC ANGELUCCI ["The Red Pill"]: Domestic violence. You're starting — you're seeing more and more awareness about male victims and false accusations. … Fathers' custody rights. I think it's all a very slow process, but we are seeing awareness.
Marc won Cassie over — not only as an advocate, but as a human being.
Cassie Jaye: And in the few hours' long interview with him, I just adored him by the end of it. … he was just so engaging. … Of all the men's rights activists I met, he was really a unique character.
Tracy Smith: So, he didn't hate women?
Cassie Jaye: Oh, no. No, no, no, no, Marc — no, Marc was strictly about fairness, justice, equality, no matter their gender … he was there to stand up for the underdog.
And since those so-called underdogs were often underfunded, she says a lot of his work was pro bono.
Tracy Smith: And he did most of that work for free.
Cassie Jaye: Yes. I know it's really — shocking and kind of hard to believe, but he wasn't motivated by money.
When Cassie's film was finished, she kept talking with Marc.
Cassie Jaye: he would just ramble on and on and on and about everything that he had worked on, but then he would also want to ask me everything about my life. And we could just talk for endless hours.
Tracy Smith: He was curious about you, too. It wasn't all about him.
Cassie Jaye: Oh, yeah.
He was one of her most cherished friends by the time she got married in 2018.
Cassie Jaye: He made the six or seven-hour drive.
Cassie Jaye: In my eyes, he just had to be there. I mean, he was — really became a part of my family. … he really was a big part of my life.
Now that someone took his life, Cassie wanted to know why.
Cassie Jaye: I mean, immediately I kind of went into detective mode.
Cassie Jaye: [Sighs] I was trying to make sense of who could do something so awful to Marc, of all people.
Tracy Smith: He didn't have any enemies as far as you knew.
Cassie Jaye: Exactly
Cassie Jaye: And I really wanted to hold space for it just being this fluke, maybe even accidental murder.
But she did wonder if Marc's work made him a target.
Cassie Jaye: I started digging into the different cases that he was involved in.
Cassie Jaye: I realized that — he was defending defenseless people in difficult situations, innocent people without a lot of money, who were going up against very powerful people with a lot of money.
Police said the motive was unknown and hoped someone would come forward with a tip.
Hermela Aregawi: This was a strange crime.
Hermela Aregawi: They knew that a killer was out there. They didn't know who. They didn't know why
They did have a well-founded fear that the killer would strike again. And sure enough, far away, a nearly identical crime was about to place.
CBS 2 NEW YORK: Police are still here at the scene; they have had the entire street blocked off…
Kat Haley [emotional]: My whole body gave out. I was like, this isn't happening.
Sarah Peterson: I was like, no. Like, this can't be true.
A "GLORIOUS" WEEKEND
Nearly 3,000 miles away from the California town where Marc Angelucci was murdered, a family of a well-respected judge in suburban New Jersey was about to be blindsided by another vicious attack.
Judge Esther Salas was the state's first Latina federal judge.
JUDGE ESTHER SALAS [at confirmation hearing]: I took an oath, and I stand by that oath, I follow the law.
When she testified at her Senate nomination hearing in 2011, her family was at her side.
JUDGE ESTHER SALAS [at confirmation hearing]: Here is my husband, Mark Anderl, my son, Daniel, who's really excited and he wanted me to make sure that, Madam Chairwoman, that you knew that he got permission from his principal, to be here, Sister Mary Louise.
Daniel, their only child, was just 10 at the time.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN [at hearing]: I can tell he's very proud of you. He has a big smile on his face.
Federal Judge Salas' life story is inspiring. She was raised with four siblings by an immigrant mother in a small apartment. At age 10, she rescued the family cat from a fire that left them homeless. Through it all, she diligently pursued her education, and she was a law intern when she fell in love with attorney Mark Anderl.
David Oakley [smiling]: Mark … He's … highly energetic, easily distracted, hardworking … and a lot of fun to work with.
David Oakley — Mark's law partner — is a close family friend.
David Oakley: There's only three of them, and they were so close-knit and so affectionate
Mark had a demanding workload, and his wife often handled hundreds of criminal and civil cases simultaneously. But they both always had time for Daniel, who shared his father's passion for sports.
Joe Augustine coached Daniel in baseball for 10 years.
Joe Augustine: Dan was the ultimate teammate … he always came prepared. He always came with energy.
And his talent was promising. But, after graduating high school, Daniel chose not to participate in college sports. He was committed to following in his parents' footsteps.
David Oakley: He made a very conscious decision to focus on his studies. … he definitely decided to … try to aspire to law school.
In 2018, he went off to The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. His parents remained as involved in his life as ever.
Kat Haley: I have never met a kid who speaks more highly of his parents. He — his mom and his dad were his best friends in the world, and he would let you know that.
Classmates Kat Haley and Sarah Peterson say Daniel was a friend they could count on.
Sarah Peterson: There was a bug in our room at 2:00 in the morning and we were terrified. We were like, "Dan, get over here right now." He hops on his electric skateboard and is over within 30 seconds —
Kat Haley: — in his pajamas.
Sarah Peterson: — ready to kill the bug. And then he was like, "OK, anything else?"
Kat Haley: We literally have a video of him dancing in the rain. And if that doesn't, like, explain his character … I don't know what does.
College continued to be a blast, but then came March 2020 — and Covid.
Sarah Peterson: We went home for spring break …. and then they made the announcement, you're not coming back.
Sarah Peterson: it was weird going from seeing someone every single day … to just all of a sudden just nothing.
That summer, as Daniel's 20th birthday neared, he was sorely missing his friends. His parents worried about the pandemic, but felt if everyone adhered to guidelines, those friends could come visit for the weekend.
Matthew Zeigler, one of Daniel's best friends, arrived, like the others, on Friday, July 17.
Matthew Zeigler: It was really awesome, really nice. We were just hanging out outside mostly. It was very nice out. … I mean his parents were actually catering dinner for us there [laughs].
Kat Haley: You picture a federal judge and obviously she's very professional, but … She's very friendly. … We were chatting about boys and about what I wanted to do in the future. … She really took us under her wing.
For a couple blissful days, there were no signs of trouble.
Kat Haley: We were just so happy to all finally see each other. It was incredible.
And when they bid Daniel goodbye that Sunday, they had no inkling how bittersweet those moments would become.
Matthew Zeigler: He was like, "all-right, love you."… I said, "love you, too." And that was kind of the last conversation we ended up having.
Kat Haley: … all he kept saying that weekend was," this is the best weekend of my life."
Hours later, Judge Salas says she and Daniel were still riding high as they cleaned up the basement.
JUDGE SALAS [video statement]: The weekend was a glorious one.
She would later release a video telling what happened next:
JUDGE SALAS [video statement]: And we were chatting, as we always do. And Daniel said "Mom, let's keep talking, I love talking to you, Mom". And it was at that exact moment that the doorbell rang …
Upstairs, Mark peered out to see a man holding a package.
David Oakley: He saw some FedEx guy, thought it was odd, it was Sunday, but then again, Esther got a lot of FedExes because, you know, Covid, and the courts being shut down.
JUDGE SALAS [video statement]: … and Daniel looked at me and said, "Who is that?" And before I could say a word, he sprinted upstairs.
David Oakley: Daniel came springing up the stairs from the basement and opened the door.
JUDGE SALAS [video statement]: Within seconds, I heard the sound of bullets and someone screaming, "No!"
Joe Denahan | FBI Newark Field Office: As we were rolling out to the location, I certainly had a feeling that we were in unchartered territory here.
On July 19, 2020, FBI incident commander Joe Denahan was sent on an urgent call.
Joe Denahan: There was a shooting at Judge Esther Salas' home in New Jersey.
The details were daunting.
Joe Denahan: An individual … had rang the doorbell, had asked Danny — Judge Salas' son — to go get Judge Salas so she could sign for an envelope, a delivery. And at that point … a shooting began almost immediately right there in the foyer of their house, just a few inches in from the front door.
By the time Esther Salas got upstairs from the basement, the shooter was gone. Mark, her husband of 25 years, had been shot three times and was critically injured. Their son was shot in the chest. They watched his life fade away.
JUDGE SALAS [video statement]: My family has experienced a pain that no one should ever have to endure.
As Mark was rushed to the hospital, investigators got to work.
Joe Denahan: I think terrorism is always something we consider immediately. … it was certainly at the forefront of our mind.
Joe Denahan: We just didn't know if it was something that was an organized group or a single lone offender.
A lone offender might be someone who held a grudge against one of Daniel's parents.
NEWS REPORT: It is still unclear if Judge Salas was theor her husband …
Joe Denahan: We had several people who had made either derogatory or borderline threatening comments to the judge … and we began to do profile workups on all those individuals.
Mark had briefly seen the shooter but could not describe him well.
Joe Denahan: He described as best he could … he sustained a very, very serious gunshot wound to the abdomen.
He was alive, he said, because of his son. As he told his friend David Oakley, Daniel died a hero.
David Oakley: He said … he remembered Daniel raising his arms and getting shot and falling back.
JUDGE SALAS [video statement]: Daniel being Daniel protected his father and he took the shooter's first bullet directly to the chest.
Judge Salas and Mark Anderl were left with an unbearable loss. They had lived through four heartbreaking miscarriages and called Daniel their miracle baby. He was the center of their universe.
JUDGE SALAS [video statement]: While my husband is still in the hospital recovering from his multiple surgeries, we are living every parent's worst nightmare — making preparations to bury our only child, Daniel.
He was also mourned by his friends.
Matthew Ziegler: Initial reaction was kind of just sitting in my family room with my family and just praying. It was probably the hardest thing I've ever had to go through, still going through.
Kat Haley: It was horrible. … I can't even imagine who would do this and who would want to do this to such an innocent kid.
Investigators were anxious to find out. Within a day, the case was in high gear, with multiple federal and state agencies conducting investigations.
At the same time, 150 miles away on a remote road in New York State's Catskill mountains, another case was just beginning.
Capt. Brian Webster | New York State Police: Ragin Road is a dead-end road in a very rural section of northern Sullivan County.
New York State Police Captain Brian Webster says his troopers responded to a call and found a dead man with a bullet in his head. His body lay in the grass, near an unoccupied car.
Capt. Brian Webster: He had a wallet with photo identification on him.
The dead man was
Capt. Brian Webster: It didn't ring any bells. I didn't know the name.
Who killed this out of town lawyer? And why here? Murders are rare in this area, and if that's what this was, the cops had their work cut out for them. But the evidence at the scene pointed to something else.
Capt. Brian Webster: … there's a Walther semiautomatic pistol located in very close proximity to the deceased subject there. It appeared that he had … a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Capt. Brian Webster: Suicide is something that we handle all the time.
And one particular item in the car was alarming.
Capt. Brian Webster: They had found a FedEx envelope that was addressed to Judge Esther Salas in … New Jersey. And the investigator … who actually finds the envelope, was familiar with … recent news reporting. … he had known that Esther Salas was a federal judge whose son was recently murdered
Webster immediately reported the apparent suicide to the FBI.
Capt. Brian Webster: He had used a .380 caliber handgun and … The .380 was the same caliber that was used at the judge's home.
As unexpected as this was, the evidence seemed clear: Roy Den Hollander shot Mark and Daniel Anderl, then drove to upstate New York and took his own life.
Joe Denahan | FBI incident commander: He was unusual in this, in a certain sense, you know, being 72 years old, a highly educated attorney, a member of the bar.
But when police began looking through other items in his car, they discovered even more evidence that the now dead New York attorney was a killer. They found an address — a residence in a small village in the mountains east of Los Angeles.
Joe Denahan: When we ran the address through … we realized that there was a murder that had occurred at that address.
That murder victim was Marc Angelucci, the California attorney gunned down by his front door just eight days before the attack in New Jersey. The details were chillingly familiar.
Joe Denahan: He had to sign for a package. When the victim arrived at the front door, he was shot with a .380 caliber handgun
The California detectives had been stymied. Now, Roy Den Hollander appeared to be responsible for that crime, too.
Joe Denahan: It was a mystery for San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office. They had no subjects at the time, but they were actively working it and they partnered well with us. So, working closely with them, I think we're able to piece together a lot of the puzzle.
Den Hollander did have the opportunity. Investigators learned that in early July he had taken a cross-country train trip to Los Angeles.
At Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, Den Hollander was caught on surveillance camera. Authorities matched the photo with another image taken at another train station just four days earlier in San Bernardino, east of Los Angeles. In the image, investigators say Den Hollander is wearing a mask and calmly carrying a cup of coffee.
That train station was just 20 miles from Angelucci's home. The timeline fit. After the murder, as California detectives searched for clues, Den Hollander was on his way back east — ultimately, to Judge Salas' home.
David Oakley: It's terrifying to think that there are people out there who are capable of these sorts of, of crimes.
FBI investigators were convinced that Roy Den Hollander committed both of these crimes, but they had no motive. And they didn't know why he chose these victims who lived so far apart. There was a lot to learn about the cold-blooded killer and his troubled past that included a stint in Moscow, a Russian model, and even a televised street brawl.
A KILLER HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT
The FBI believed that the three incidents were linked: two harrowing crimes 2,800 miles apart, and one suicide on a faraway dead-end road.
Capt. Brian Webster: A multistate homicide investigation … is not something that we deal with very often.
After attorney Roy Den Hollander took his own life, the agents later found a lengthy online manuscript he left behind: part memoir, part manifesto.
Joe Denahan: We were dealing with an unstable person who I think it's fair to say was a coward.
He was a ticking time bomb hiding in plain sight. But he had once had a successful career.
Joe Serio: Roy was a very personable, articulate, affable guy.
Joe Serio met Den Hollander in Moscow. It was 1999 and Serio worked for an American consulting firm there, overseeing its investigations. Den Hollander was a new hire.
Joe Serio: … he had a bit of charisma about him.
Den Hollander had an impressive resume —he once worked for a prestigious law firm and had earned an Ivy League MBA.
Joe Serio: … this is a guy who apparently is successful … and he's in good shape.
Even so, something seemed off.
Joe Serio: … he also dyed his hair. And he — I have nothing against dyeing hair, but he told us why.
Tracy Smith: Why?
Joe Serio: Because he could pick up babes easier that way.
Tracy Smith: Babes — that was —
Joe Serio: Yeah, babes —
Tracy Smith: — the word he used.
Joe Serio: — is the word he used a lot. … And my idea of what a 50-year-old is and how they should be, quote-unquote, "conducting themselves" —it wasn't matching up.
Den Hollander wasted no time hitting Russian bars and clubs.
Tracy Smith: It was an obsession.
Joe Serio: It was — he was fixated on women and going out and chatting up women, dancing with women, picking up women.
Serio, whose new book is titled, "Vodka, Hookers, and the Russian Mafia: My Life in Moscow," recognized the risk. At the time, Russia was in the throes of political and economic upheaval.
Joe Serio: I've been here for 10 years. You just parachuted in. I know what happens to foreigners who go chasing women.
Tracy Smith: What happens to them?
Joe Serio: They get drugged. They get robbed. Every once in a while, they got killed.
In this case, that didn't happen. Den Hollander stayed in Russia for year, married a 24-year-old woman named Alina, and moved back to the states with her.
Tracy Smith: What did he tell you about her?
Joe Serio: He talked about her body. She was a model, apparently, or of model-status … you know, that kind of a body, that kind of attractiveness.
Photos of Alina were posted to Hollander's website.
The union was contentious — and short lived. They filed for divorce, both claiming cruel treatment. In his memoir, Den Hollander rips into his ex-wife, calling her a "poisoned dragon."
Joe Denahan: One of the themes that we saw was, he was a very angry person. … And he was a misogynist. And he blamed women for the failures of his life.
It would take about 2,000 pages to print Den Hollander's entire manuscript. It's largely a, starting with his mother and extending to women in positions of power: "As for that most virulent form of female evil, the feminazis, I despise them! Despise them for the harm they have intentionally done to men." He vows to fight them until his last breath.
Joe Serio: … when I was reading his manifesto, I was imagining a person walking into a pool. And he's walking into this pool his whole life.
After his divorce, Den Hollander began filing a flurry of lawsuits aimed to eliminate what he saw as female privilege: most notably, ladies' nights at bars.
ROY DEN HOLLANDER [ABC News "Nightline" interview]: The person who might be taken advantage of is me. Girls have power. They've always had power.
Joe Serio: Somebody argued ladies' nights in bars is a benefit to men. So why in God's name are you trying to get rid of that?
Tracy Smith: But he saw it as?
Joe Serio: He saw it as just another way those bitches are cutting out the legs from underneath men.
The self-described "anti-feminist lawyer" became a go-to guy for provocative media stories.
NEIL CAVUTO [Fox News' "Your World with Neil Cavuto"]: Roy, you're angry, you're very angry.
ROY DEN HOLLANDER: … And who eats more? Oh, absolutely. But only against the feminists.
Joe Serio: … it's obvious to everyone outside of him that none of this makes him look good.
Joe Serio: He's losing cases. He's losing decisions.
And sometimes he lost his composure. When he was shooting a profile with a French TV crew, he took his anger to the streets, engaging in a brawl.
Tracy Smith: But do you think there was also a part of him that realized people were laughing at him or at least rolling their eyes at him?
Joe Serio: I don't know how he could not have seen it.
ROY DEN HOLLANDER: The last time you went out, whose car was it, who paid for the taxi, who paid for the dinner? And then look back over your life—
FEMALE INTERVIEWER: I've picked up my share of tabs in my time, in my life, thank you very much-well.
ROY DEN HOLLANDER: Well, what are you doing tonight?
Den Hollander wrote that he was diagnosed with a deadly form of melanoma in 2018. He berated his doctors and continued his rants.
In July 2020, his rage turned deadly.
Tracy Smith: Why did he go after Marc Angelucci?
Joe Serio: … in Roy's mind, Marc was guilty of encroaching on Roy's territory.
Angelucci's hard work had been paying off. He had made some progress in court with male discrimination cases involving the all-male military draft.
Tracy Smith: Marc didn't even realize that he was in danger, that this guy had a grudge.
Cassie Jaye: I don't think so.
Cassie Jaye didn't realize it either — although she had spent considerable time researching men's rights.
Tracy Smith: Had you ever heard of this guy? Roy Den Hollander?
Cassie Jaye: No, I've never heard of him. He's never come across my radar. … He wasn't embraced by the men's rights movement … No one referred him to me.
As for Esther Salas, investigators believe she was targeted because Den Hollander blamed her — wrongly — for slowing down one of his lawsuits. In spewing, hate-filled words, he called her a "lazy and incompetent Latina judge." David Oakley is still trying to make sense of the damage Den Hollander caused.
David Oakley: People are capable of evil. It's often probably very difficult to distinguish it from derangement, but there is evil. And of course, there could be some kind of combination of the two.
Joe Serio: This was not one of those cases where you would say, "oh, this is the last person I would expect to do something." It wasn't that. … It made sense.
No one knows why, but when he was a child, his family had a vacation home nearby. As FBI agents continued going through those papers left at the scene, they found other unsettling leads —more names.
There is no publicly known evidence that Roy Den Hollander harmed anyone other than the known victims, but investigators were unnerved to find papers in his car with yet more names, including other judges and people in the medical field.
Joe Denahan: … we always assume nefarious intent with someone like this. And so, we want to make sure that, although we didn't think there was any existing threat to them anymore, we wanted to let them know that their name was found on this list.
FBI agents concluded that the 72-year-old attorney had acted alone.
Joe Denahan: We know a great deal about Mr. Hollander. We spent, you know, hundreds of hours analyzing his writings.
Cassie Jaye: His website had — a lot of sexist, racist — hate speech on it.
Tracy Smith: You said that the men's rights movement is not angry white men with a chip on their shoulder about women.
Cassie Jaye: Uh-huh [affirms].
Tracy Smith: And yet this guy was an angry, white man with a chip on his shoulder about women.
Cassie Jaye: If you want an example … Roy Den Hollander wrote a book and he dedicated it to his mom: "May she burn in Hell."
Despite the grudge he held against Marc Angelucci, Cassie Jaye says the killer was nowhere near Marc's equal as an advocate.
Tracy Smith: What are the big cases that he took on for men's rights?
Cassie Jaye: So, one of his proudest accomplishments was … he sued the state of California for refusing to fund — services for male victims of domestic violence. And he won that case — on equal protection clause in California.
Marc scored other legal victories, she says, but never lost his sense of humanity.
Cassie Jaye: He lived a life that we should all strive to emulate [sighs]. …And anyone who knew him we're — we're better for it.
Daniel Anderl barely made it to age 20, but, he, too, lived a purposeful life.
Kat Haley: He would always be one of the first people I'd go to for advice about anything, and he was always there to listen. He was such a good listener.
Kat Haley: … He truly is one of the best people I've ever met in my entire life.
Sarah Peterson: We were always texting each other, like, if anything bad was going on. It was, "hey, like, let me talk to you really quick". Like, "just let me get your opinions."
Matthew Ziegler: The quality that I admired about him most was his ability to love others and his ability to love even when he was hurt by others …
Matthew Ziegler: He was a very low-stress guy. And it was — I think it was because he just lived in the present moment so well.
His friends all remember that tight-knit relationship he had with his mother and father.
Kat Haley: He was so proud of his parents. He loved what they did. His mom was … a federal judge of New Jersey. He was ecstatic, and he talked about her accomplishments and his father's accomplishments all the time.
David Oakley: I just want to be there and … support them in any way I can.
David Oakley is eager to help his friends. He was Daniel's godfather and they shared a deep devotion to their faith.
David Oakley: I have direct evidence that he died heroically, that he had a holy death … And so, I have no hesitation about praying to Daniel. And I have been.
Kat Haley: There is nobody else I know that would do something like that, except for Dan, to sacrifice his own life to save someone else.
Sarah Peterson: And it was instinctual for him. … in that moment, he knew this is what I have to do. This is what I'm going to do.
Seven months after taking three bullets, Mark Anderl is still recovering.
David Oakley: He's on the mend, but it's a very slow, slow process.
He and Judge Salas have now found a way to have Daniel's goodwill live on.
JUDGE SALAS [video statement]: My son's death cannot be in vain.
The judge says the shooter was looking for her that day and had no problem finding her at her own home.
JUDGE SALAS [video statement]: The free flow of information from the Internet allowed this sick and depraved human being to find all our personal information and target us.
She and her husband have been fighting hard to change that. In November 2020 they scored a major victory — New Jersey's governor signed a new law named for their son.
GOVERNOR PHIL MURPHY [at ceremony]: I am honored today to sign Daniel's Law …
The law prohibits making the home address of judges available to the public.
JUDGE SALAS [at ceremony]: Daniel's Law will make a difference. It will protect judges from senseless acts of violence.
It's a fitting legacy, she says.
JUDGE SALAS [at ceremony]: In the seconds before his death, Daniel asked me to keep talking to him. Because he loved talking to me. Well, Daniel, on behalf of all New Jersey judges, I thank you, son, for all you have done.
GOVERNOR PHIL MURPHY: This is now the law of the land.
Judge Salas and Mark Anderl are now taking Daniel's Law to the U.S. Congress — using it as a model for what they hope will become a federal law. They remain as devoted to their son as ever.
"I am profoundly moved by seeing how Mark and Esther are dealing with this unspeakable event," says Anderl family friend David Oakley. "They've turned this into something positive for others.
Legislation inspired by Daniel's Law has been introduced in the U.S. Congress.
Produced by Gail Zimmerman and Chuck Stevenson. Sara Ely Hulse, Michelle Fanucci and Jonathan Leach are the development producers. Gabriella Demirdjian is the associate producer. Marlon Disla, Marcus Balsam, Richard Barber, Michelle Harris and James Taylor are the editors. Anthony Batson is the senior broadcast producer. Nancy Kramer is the executive story editor. Judy Tygard is the executive producer.