Alleged Lee Zeldin attempted attacker charged with felony, immediately released just as congressman predicted
A man who allegedly attacked Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., with a sharp object at a campaign stop in Perinton, New York, Thursday evening was charged with a felony and released from custody within hours of his arrest, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department said.
The suspect, identified as David G. Jakubonis, 43 of Fairport, N.Y., was charged with attempted assault in the second degree.
He was arraigned in Perinton Town Court and released on his own recognizance, the sheriff’s department said.
Zeldin, who is the Republican candidate for governor in New York, predicted the alleged attacker would be released.
LEE ZELDIN, NEW YORK GOP GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE, ATTACKED AT CAMPAIGN STOP
‘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 tweeted early Friday. ‘Law enforcement was on the scene within minutes. The attacker will likely be instantly released under NY’s laws.’
Zeldin was giving a speech about bail reform at a Veterans of Foreign Wars post when the alleged assault happened.
LEE ZELDIN’S WOULD-BE ATTACKER ‘TACKLED’ BY GROUP OF BYSTANDERS: ‘HE HAD A BLADE ON HIS HAND’
Jakubonis was tackled by AMVETS national Director Joe Chenelly, according to witnesses.
‘His right hand came up, I assume out of his pocket, and he had a blade on his hand,’ Chenelly told Fox News Digital. ‘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.
Zeldin released a statement after the attack that said: ‘Thank you to everyone who reached out following tonight’s attack in Fairport. Someone tried to stab me on stage during this evening’s rally, but fortunately, I was able to grab his wrist and stop him for a few moments until others tackled him. I’m ok, and @EspositoforNY, and all other attendees are safe. The attacker is in custody. 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.’
No serious injuries were reported.
Fox News’ Adam Sabes contributed to this report.