The man who allegedly attacked Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), the Republican nominee for governor, was charged with a felony and immediately released hours after his arrest, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department said.
Zeldin predicted the suspect — identified as 43-year-old David G. Jakubonis — would be “instantly released under NY’s laws” on Twitter after the attempted stabbing.
Jakubonis, of Fairport, was arraigned in Perinton Town Court, near Zeldin’s campaign stop where he was speaking about bail reform at a Veterans of Foreign Wars post. Jakubonis was released on his own recognizance, according to the sheriff’s department.
“His words as he tried to stab me a few hours ago were “you’re done”, but several attendees, including @EspositoforNY, quickly jumped into action & tackled the guy,” Zeldin wrote. “Law enforcement was on the scene within minutes.”
The Republican congressman added, “The attacker will likely be instantly released under NY’s laws.”
His words as he tried to stab me a few hours ago were “you’re done”, but several attendees, including @EspositoforNY, quickly jumped into action & tackled the guy.— Lee Zeldin (@leezeldin) July 22, 2022
Law enforcement was on the scene within minutes.
The attacker will likely be instantly released under NY’s laws. pic.twitter.com/wZEyIyrjFe
According to a statement from Zeldin’s campaign, the man “attempted to stab” the congressman who then “grabbed the attacker’s wrist to stop him until several others assisted in taking the attacker down to the ground.” The man was then taken into custody.
Witnesses say the attacker had a weapon and raised it towards the congressman’s neck. The congressman fought back hard and both men tumbled to the stage floor.
Katie Vincentz, a Zeldin campaign spokesperson, said in a statement: “Congressman Zeldin, [running mate] Alison Esposito and all members of Team Zeldin are safe following tonight’s attack. Far more must be done to make New York safe again. This is very much getting out of hand in this state.
“Unfortunately, Congressman Zeldin is just the latest New Yorker whose life has been affected by the out of control crime and violence in New York. This needs to stop! Thankfully, we still have exceptional men and women in law enforcement answering the call to protect our streets.”
Gov. Kathy Hochul – Zeldin’s Democratic opponent – said she had been briefed on the incident.
“Relieved to hear that Congressman Zeldin was not injured and that the suspect is in custody,” she tweeted. “I condemn this violent behavior in the strongest terms possible — it has no place in New York.”
National radio host and best-selling author Todd Starnes slammed Democrats following Jakubonis’s immediate release.
“So the man who tried to assassinate Rep. Lee Zeldin was released from jail — without having to post bail,” Starnes said. “Democrats don’t believe it’s a crime to attack Republicans.”
So the man who tried to assassinate Rep. Lee Zeldin was released from jail — without having to post bail. Democrats don't believe it's a crime to attack Republicans.— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) July 22, 2022
Here is video of the attack involving Rep. Zeldin from witness Cody Crippen pic.twitter.com/Ur1CfpkdsS— Nick Reisman (@NickReisman) July 22, 2022