The decade's most triggering comedy
Rep. Lee Zeldin’s (R-NY) alleged attacker was interviewed by The New York Times Friday following his release from police custody and revealed that he was battling a relapse from alcoholism while being treated for anxiety.
David Jakubonis, a 43-year-old U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq, told reporters that he jumped on stage to take the microphone away from Zeldin because someone told him Zeldin was “disrespecting veterans,” the Times reported. He also claimed he didn’t know who Zeldin was or that he was a gubernatorial candidate.
Jakubonis said he was holding a sharp cat-shaped object for self defense, even though he allegedly approached the congressman and put his weapon up to Zeldin’s neck. “The ears are plastic, but I guess they’re sharp,” he said. The alleged attacker also admitted he was “checked out” mentally and “asleep within” himself.
The New York Post reported that Jakubonis’ mental state declined rapidly following the death of his wife and his medical discharge from the Army in 2012.
The Army vet’s LinkedIn page indicates that he’s been looking for a job for years, and his voter registration records showed he has no party affiliation, according to the Times.
Video of the assault showed the suspect jumping on stage and walking up to the Republican congressman while he was speaking at a Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Perinton, New York.
Jakubonis then allegedly yelled “you’re done” and put a weapon near Zeldin’s face as he grabbed his arm. According to reports, AMVETS National Director Joe Chenelly quickly came to Zeldin’s aid and took the alleged attacker to the ground, and the suspect brought Zeldin to the ground on top of him.
The gubernatorial candidate was quickly helped up as the suspect was detained. Zeldin was fine following the incident and predicted that his alleged attacker would be released from custody.
“His words as he tried to stab me a few hours ago were ‘you’re done,’ but several attendees, including @EspositoforNY, quickly jumped into action & tackled the guy. Law enforcement was on the scene within minutes. The attacker will likely be instantly released under NY’s laws,” Zeldin tweeted.
His words as he tried to stab me a few hours ago were “you’re done”, but several attendees, including @EspositoforNY, quickly jumped into action & tackled the guy.
Law enforcement was on the scene within minutes.
The attacker will likely be instantly released under NY’s laws. pic.twitter.com/wZEyIyrjFe
— Lee Zeldin (@leezeldin) July 22, 2022
His prediction came true when Jakubonis was released from police custody hours after the attack. He was charged with attempted second degree assault and was “released on his own recognizance” Thursday, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
Leif Le Mahieu contributed to this report.