Rep. Lee Zeldin Attacker Released From Jail

A man who approached Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) during a campaign stop and appeared to attack him while holding a bladed weapon was released from jail hours after he was arrested on Thursday evening, officials said.

David Jakubonis, 43, was arraigned on Thursday night in Perinton Town Court on second-degree attempted assault stemming from the attack on Zeldin, a Republican running for governor in New York. He was released on his own recognizance, according to local reports and officials.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department said Jakubonis—who told Zeldin “you’re done”—was released from custody within hours on “his own recognizance.”

In a late-night Twitter post, Zeldin predicted that Jakubonis would be released due to New York’s controversial bail reform laws that Republicans and some law enforcement groups say have driven up crime.

“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,” he wrote on Friday morning. “Law enforcement was on the scene within minutes. The attacker will likely be instantly released under NY’s laws.”

Zeldin, a congressman from Long Island, was giving a speech about bail reform laws when he was approached by Jakubonis, according to the New York Post. Photos show that he was carrying an unknown weapon with two small blades in his hand.

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Joe Chenelly, a New York State Assembly candidate, tackled Jakubonis at the event and recalled the incident.

“I could see what looked like a razor or knife of some sort,” Chenelly told Fox News on Friday. “As he attempted another swing, I tackled the attacker from the back and slammed him to the ground where several of us were able to restrain him and get the weapon away from him.”

Chenelly told Rochester First that when he spoke to Jakubonis, the suspect told him that he was a veteran who served in Iraq and promised to get him help. Unconfirmed reports indicated that Jakubonis was drunk.

“When he said he served in Iraq, I got down hands on my knees and said, ‘You know, we’re going to get through whatever you’ve done here tonight. You’re going to get better and focus on that. You can contact me after this thing is done,’” Chenelly, also a veteran, told Fox News.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat who is facing off against Zeldin in November, condemned the attack in a statement. Hochul took over after former Gov. Andrew Cuomo stepped down in the midst of several scandals last summer.

“My team has informed me about the incident at Lee Zeldin’s campaign event tonight. Relieved to hear that Congressman Zeldin was not injured and that the suspect is in custody,” she wrote in the tweet. “I condemn this violent behavior in the strongest terms possible—it has no place in New York.”

From The Epoch Times