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Rep. Lee Zeldin attacked while giving speech at campaign event; suspect charged

Zeldin was giving a speech when a man climbed onstage and appeared to begin wrestling with the congressman, said Katie Vincentz, a spokesperson for Zeldin's campaign.

News 12 Staff

Jul 22, 2022, 9:32 AM

Updated 699 days ago


Gubernatorial candidate and U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin was back on the campaign trail Friday after he was attacked Thursday night while giving a speech at a campaign event upstate.
Zeldin had just kicked off a weekend campaign tour in Fairport and was talking about bail reform when a man identified by police as 43-year-old David G. Jakubonis, of Fairport, climbed onto stage and threatened Zeldin with a sharp handheld object.
The congressman quickly grabbed the man's wrists while others jumped in to help, and the man was taken down and held until police arrived.
"When he lifted up his hand and was lunging for my heart, my first reaction was to grab onto his wrist," Zeldin said.
The Monroe Sheriff's Office released a statement that said Jakubonis was taken into custody and charged with attempted assault in the second degree.
He was arraigned and released on his own recognizance.
Zeldin was not hurt and returned to the stage, where he finished his remarks.
Despite the attack, Zeldin said he will continue campaigning.
"I think it's important to always stand up for what we believe in and not to be intimidated," Zeldin said.
Political consultant Mike Dawidziak said elected officials and those on the campaign trail need to ramp up their security because of the current political climate.
"The political discourse has been anything but civil over the last few years. The discourse has turned violent and, unfortunately, it's a very short step to violent behavior," Dawidziak said.
The event in Monroe County was the first stop on a planned weekend bus tour across upstate New York to informally kick off Zeldin's general campaign.

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