Sheila Abdus-Salaam, a 65-year-old associate judge of New York's highest court, was found dead in the Hudson River at approximately 1:45 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, according to police reports.
Police pronounced Abdus-Salaam, a native of Washington, D.C., dead at the scene after finding her clothed body in the water. According to the New York Times, police are currently treating her death as a suicide though the investigation is still pending.
Abdus-Salaam became the first black woman appointed to the New York Court of Appeals in 2013, as appointed by Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo to the state's high court. She was the first-ever U.S. Muslim woman judge.
“Justice Sheila Abdus-Salaam was a trailblazing jurist whose life in public service was in pursuit of a more fair and more just New York for all,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo wrote in a statement Wednesday night, according to The New York Post.
“She was a pioneer,” he said. “Through her writings, her wisdom, and her unshakable moral compass, she was a force for good whose legacy will be felt for years to come. I was proud to appoint her to the state’s highest court and am deeply saddened by her passing.”
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