Man accused of threatening to kill Rep. Zeldin supporters

Posted: Updated:
SMITHTOWN -

A Nesconset man is accused of threatening to kill supporters of Rep. Lee Zeldin and President Donald Trump.

Police say Martin Astrof went to Zeldin's campaign office on Terry Road Friday and got into a heated argument with a campaign worker there.

“He was irate, going crazy, saying he hated Donald Trump, and that we were putting kids in cages, that we should all be in cages, and we should be shot,” says campaign worker Donato Panico.

Panico says he was in his car outside the office at the time of the heated exchange. He says he then jumped out and used his car as a shield, fearing that the man could be armed.

Police say Astrof aggressively threw his car into reverse and almost ran Panico over while backing up.

Investigators say the suspect then took off but was tracked down a short time later and placed under arrest. Astrof was held overnight at the Suffolk Police Department's Fourth Precinct.

The 75-year-old faced a judge Saturday morning at the Suffolk County Courthouse in Central Islip on charges of making a terroristic threat and reckless endangerment.

Rep. Zeldin issued a statement overnight saying, "In the United States of America, political scores are settled at the ballot box, not by trying to kill your political opponents. It is unacceptable to resort to actions to kill or seriously harm political opponents... It must stop NOW. "

Astrof told News 12 he did not try to hit the campaign worker with his car. His bond was set at $25,000 and he will be back in court on July 12.

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