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Congressman running for New York governor attacked onstage at campaign event

TODAY logo TODAY 7/22/2022 Scott Stump

Congressman Lee Zeldin, the Republican candidate for governor of New York, endured a frightening incident at a campaign event Thursday when he was attacked onstage by a man with a weapon.

Zeldin, who was not injured in the confrontation, was giving a speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Perinton, New York, outside of Rochester when a man approached him onstage, according to video of the incident obtained by NBC affiliate WHEC.

The man is seen approaching Zeldin, appearing to repeat the phrase "you're done" while holding a sharp-looking object in his right hand before he lunges at Zeldin. The congressman then grabs the man's wrist before others intervene, tackle the man to the ground and restrain him with zip ties.

"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," Zeldin tweeted.

Video: Rep. Lee Zeldin attacked at New York campaign event (NBC News)


David Jakubonis, 43, was charged with attempted assault in the second degree and released on his own recognizance, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office said. Police confirmed that Jakubonis had a weapon, but did not specify what kind of weapon.

Following the incident, Zeldin went back on stage to finish his remarks. Zeldin, who was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2014 after serving as a state senator, won the Republican primary last month to oppose New York Gov. Kathy Hochul in November's gubernatorial election.

Hochul condemned the attack on Zeldin.

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


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