The Catholic University of America held a Mass on Monday for 20-year-old student Daniel Anderl, who died in a shooting at his family home.
His father, Mark Anderl, a criminal defence lawyer, was also wounded in the attack on Sunday night and remains in a critical condition, whilst the student’s mother, Judge Esther Salas, was in another part of the house and escaped unharmed.
The father and son were attacked by a gunman reportedly posing as a FedEx delivery driver, who entered the house in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and began shooting.
The prime suspect, Roy Den Hollander, was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in Sullivan County, New York, on Monday, with an empty package addressed to Judge Salas recovered along with the body. Den Hollander had called Judge Salas “a lazy and incompetent Latina judge” after she presided over his legal challenge to the male-only military draft. The prominent anti-feminist lawyer had left the case when he found out he had terminal cancer.
Catholic University President John Garvey released a statement on Monday expressing his shock at the killing of one of the university’s students. “I was shocked last night to hear news of Daniel Anderl’s tragic death,” he said. “We all mourn and grieve this loss to our University community.”
The president at the Washington DC-based university described Daniel Anderl as a “rising junior” who had been preparing for courses due to recommence within the coming weeks. Anderl had been placed on the School of Arts and Sciences’ Dean’s List for his academic achievements in the previous semester and was dreaming of following his parents’ footsteps into the legal profession.
The university announced that grief counsellors would be made available to students and that a Mass said for Anderl was to be streamed via Zoom on Monday evening.
The university chaplain, Fr Jude DeAngelo, said during his sermon that the university community had been left “stunned and shocked that another human being can so callously cause the death of another person.”
“Daniel’s death was not in God’s plan for him and for us,” the priest said. “God is not the author of this evil.”
The sermon included memories of Anderl gathered by his friends, who described him as a generous and loyal person who would always “treat everyone to Chipotle.”
A group of Anderl’s friends provided an expanded statement to NBC on the person they had lost.
“To us he was not Daniel, the son of a federal judge, he was our Dan. He was our Dan who loved to brag about his mom’s cooking skills and post pictures of her great dinners all throughout quarantine. He was our Dan who loved to dance and sing with us and always double check that everyone got home safe after a night out. He was our Dan who begged to take naps on the floor of our dorm room just because he thought the rug was really fluffy. He was our Dan who would ride the metro late at night with us just to make sure his friends were safe and ready to protect us without hesitation. He was our Dan who had a contagious smile and would sit outside and talk about anything with us. He was our Dan who told us all to stop studying for a night and enjoy life and be a college student. He was our Dan who gave us huge bear hugs who went out of his way to always say hello. He was our Dan who would buy last minute Mets tickets and go grab food so I wouldn’t miss a minute of the game. He was our Dan who made stupid jokes at lunch and always shared his fries. He was the Dan who ran singing around the halls of Catholic University and we could spot his voice on the basketball court a mile away. He was our Dan who would brag about being weeks ahead on his schoolwork and still sit while we study and encourage us to keep going. He was the Dan who memorized 75 ways to be a good teammate and recited it for everyone on his team. He is the Dan who loved naps and would try to get us to help with his laundry and always make us laugh. He is our Dan who we remember as one of the most loving and supportive people on campus, the person we can always call, and the person who is always a positive light. We will remember Dan everyday and miss him every time we share a laugh and remember these times together. These are only a few of many memories from only a few many of his friends and people he impacted at Catholic U. We love Dan, we love his family, and we all will be praying and supporting his loved ones as they attempt to deal with this inconceivable loss.”