U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., the Republican nominee for New York governor, said he is safe following an attack by a man at a campaign stop Thursday night.
Zeldin was speaking at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8495 in the Town of Perinton on Thursday when a man holding an object in his hand rushed the stage and grabbed his arm, pulling him to the ground.
Footage of the attack can be seen here.
Zeldin confirmed on his official Twitter account Thursday night that both he and Alison Esposito, who is running for lieutenant governor of New York, were doing alright.
“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.
“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.”
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office released a press release identifying the alleged attacker as 43-year-old David G. Jakubonis of nearby Fairport.
“The male had a weapon in his hand, swung it towards Zeldin’s neck, and told him, ‘You’re done,’” the Sheriff’s Office said, noting that the suspect was “arraigned in Perinton Town Court and released on his own recognizance.”
“Members of the audience and Rep. Zeldin’s campaign restrained the male until deputies arrived and took him into custody. There were no injuries.”
A motive has not yet been identified.
New York Democrat Gov. Kathy Hochul — who is finishing out the term of former governor Andrew Cuomo who resigned last August due to numerous scandals — is running against Zeldin and posted a statement on Twitter denouncing the attack.
“Relieved to hear that Congressman Zeldin was not injured and that the suspect is in custody,” she tweeted. “I condemn this violent behavior in the strongest terms possible — it has no place in New York.”
Some Republicans and conservatives, among them the New York Republican State Committee, claimed that Hochul was partly to blame due to what they described as her inflammatory rhetoric.
“It’s not a coincidence that just hours earlier, Kathy Hochul fanned the flames of hate directing her supporters to his rally schedule,” stated the NYRSC on Facebook.
“This is unacceptable conduct for anyone, let alone a sitting governor. It’s not enough to condemn the attack, she must apologize and tone down her hateful rhetoric immediately.”