Breaking: Man Accused of Attack on GOP Rep. Zeldin Immediately Released after Being Charged with Felony

A 43-year-old man accused of attacking Representative Lee Zeldin (R., N.Y.) with a sharp object at a campaign stop in upstate New York on Thursday evening was charged with a felony and released from custody just hours after his arrest, police said.

Zeldin, who is New York’s Republican gubernatorial candidate, was giving a speech on bail reform at a stop on his "Unite to Fire Hochul" bus tour in Perinton when David G. Jakubonis allegedly charged at him and pulled out a sharp object.

Jakubonis was charged with attempted assault in the second degree and was released on his own recognizance after being arraigned in Perinton Town Court, the Monroe County Sheriff's Department said.

The attacker walked free shortly after Zeldin predicted he would “likely be instantly released.”

“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 in a tweet. “Law enforcement was on the scene within minutes. The attacker will likely be instantly released under NY's laws.”

Zeldin said in a separate tweet he was “grateful for the attendees who stepped up quickly to assist and the law enforcement officers who quickly responded.”

“I’m as resolute as ever to do my part to make NY safe again,” he added.

Audience members at the Veterans of Foreign Wars post where Zeldin was speaking stepped in to subdue the attacker, disarming him and restraining him using zip-ties that were pulled from campaign posters, WHEC-TV reported.

AMVETS national director Joe Chenelly tackled Jakubonis, according to Fox News.

“His right hand came up, I assume out of his pocket, and he had a blade on his hand,” Chenelly told the outlet of the alleged attacked. “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.” 

After the attack, Zeldin returned to the stage and finished his remarks.

Zeldin, an attorney and Iraq War veteran who has represented eastern Long Island in Congress since 2015, is running against New York governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, in the general election in November. Hochul, who was sworn in last August after her predecessor Andrew Cuomo resigned over a sexual-harassment scandal, spoke out against the attack on Zeldin on Thursday evening.

"Relieved to hear that Congressman Zeldin was not injured and that the suspect is in custody," she said. "I condemn this violent behavior in the strongest terms possible — it has no place in New York."

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Man Accused of Attack on GOP Rep. Zeldin Immediately Released after Being Charged with Felony

The attacker walked free shortly after Zeldin predicted he would ‘likely be instantly ... READ MORE

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