Lee Zeldin saw ‘red flags’ during NY attack, mad at release

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Lee Zeldin saw 'red flags' during NY attack, mad at release

Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin on Friday described the chilling attack on him at a campaign stop, saying he was caught off guard because the man who lunged at him with a weapon was a fellow veteran — but then some “red flags” popped up.

And the candidate for governor ripped his assailant’s quick release under New York’s soft-on-crime bail laws.

“You just can’t be going around trying to stab, not just members of Congress, but anybody, for that matter,” the Republican candidate for New York governor told 1010 WINS radio.

“I believe you shouldn’t just be instantly released,” he said of the 43-year-old suspect, David Jakubonis, who allegedly charged him while warning, “You’re done!”

Zeldin, 42, also said he saw a series of “red flags” when he noticed someone approaching him as he spoke at a campaign stop near Rochester on Thursday.

“Most importantly, he had something in his hand — it was similar to brass knuckles,” he recalled, noting there were “two pointy ends coming out of the weapon” like a claw.

“That was a weapon … that looks like something that can cause a significant injury,” he said.

Rep. Lee Zeldin said he was initially caught off guard by his alleged attacker David Jakubonis because he was a fellow veteran.
Rep. Lee Zeldin said he was initially caught off guard by his alleged attacker, David Jakubonis, because he was a fellow veteran.
WHEC

But amid the red flags, Zeldin said, he was confused at seeing Jakubonis in a veteran’s hat.

“Usually in life, when I see somebody wearing a veteran’s hat, my guard is dropped as low as it can get,” he told the radio station.

Still, “once he started lunging towards my neck area with it, I just very quickly grabbed his wrist,” recalled the congressman from Long Island.

“I just needed a few moments of holding his wrist there before everybody else jumped on” him and tackled him, he said.

Zeldin was attacked by the suspect who was holding a weapon "similar to brass knuckles."
Zeldin was allegedly attacked by the suspect, who was holding a weapon “similar to brass knuckles.”
WHEC

Zeldin noted that there were no uniformed cops at the event — and suggested he may have been able to escape unharmed because Jakubonis was intoxicated.

“I was told that he was under the influence — that he was drunk. That might have impacted the speed at which he was coming at me a bit,” he said, noting how one of Jakubonis’ shoes also appeared to get stuck.

Even minutes after he was subdued, “there was a conversation going on as to whether or not he had additional weapons,” the congressman said.

Zeldin noted that he saw several "red flags" as Jakubonis came up to him at the campaign stop near Rochester.
Zeldin noted that he saw several “red flags” as Jakubonis came up to him at the campaign stop near Rochester.
New York GOP

He then decried soft-on-crime laws that — as he had predicted — allowed
Jakubonis to be freed soon after he was tackled and arrested.

Calling for a “major overhaul” of the bail laws, he said they are not “making New York any safer. I have huge concerns with the impact of them.”

In his case, Jakubonis should have been held in custody because “he was under the influence” and had known “mental issues,” Zeldin said.

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