Attack on Lee Zeldin During Campaign Event

Faye Higbee

Lee Zeldin is a Republican running for Governor of New York along with Alison Esposito for Lt Governor. At a campaign event in Perinton, NY, a man rushed onto the stage as he was speaking and attacked him with what appeared to be a sharp metal object in the shape of a cat. (Similar objects are sold as self-defense key chains.) The event was held at a VFW. Several people tackled the suspect before he could harm Congressman Zeldin.

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The suspect was identified as David G. Jakubonis, an Iraq veteran who appeared to be drunk. Several people rushed onto the stage as Zeldin grabbed the suspect’s wrist in an attempt to keep the blades away from him.

Screenshot via Twitter

Joe Chenelly, the national director for AMVETS, spoke with Fox News Digital and said the alleged attacker came through the crowd about 15 minutes into Zeldin’s speech and was “stumbling” as he walked up to the stage, and that’s when a decision was made to confront him. When first seeing the alleged attacker approach the stage, Chenelly said he “wasn’t sure if he was coming up to hug the congressman or yell at him or argue with him.”

Chenelly said the Congressman was able to block the man from striking him with the blade.

“His right hand came up, I assume out of his pocket, and he had a blade on his hand. His fingers were like two finger holes in the blade and lunged at the congressman. And Congressman Zeldin blocked the first lunge. And then as he tried to lunge again, I grabbed him from behind and tackled him down to the ground and held him on the ground,” Chenelly said. 

Joe Chenelly, to Fox

Chenelly said he couldn’t understand much of what Jakubonis was saying. According to Chenelly, the man was not “mentally well.” Chenelly told the attacker that he would do his best to get him the help he obviously needs, and hopes the man will reach out to him when everything is done. Although the Monroe County Sheriff’s office arrested him, Jakubonis was released just hours after being arrested due to New York’s no bail law.

Chenelly, who is running for another office, was enraged that Jakubonis was released, saying that he was “not in a good place” after the incident. He wanted to help the veteran, but the State of New York stood in the way. The subject of Lee Zeldin’s speech was bail reform.


Featured screenshot via New York Post on Twitter

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