PERINTON, NY – A 43-year-old man armed with a bladed-style of brass knuckles who is accused of attacking Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin during an event earlier in July was reportedly immediately released from jail, despite being hit with a felony attempted assault charge.

The incident occurred on the evening of July 21st as Rep. Zeldin, who is running for governor in New York, was speaking at a campaign event in Perinton.

The Republican gubernatorial candidate was, ironically, discussing bail reform at a Veterans of Foreign Wars post when a man identified as David G. Jakubonis rushed the stage and raised his fist at Rep. Zeldin while saying, “You’re done, you’re done.”

In Jakubonis’ raised fist was a clenched “cat stabber” keychain, which is a bladed, two-finger brass knuckles weapon stylized in a fashion to appear as an innocuous cat-themed keychain.

Credit: Zeldin’s Public Twitter Account
Cat Ears Self Defense Keychain (Credit: This Is Why I’m Broke)

Rep. Zeldin was remarkably unharmed during the attempted attack, as Jakubonis was reportedly taken down by AMVETS national Director Joe Chenelly following the storming of the stage – with Rep. Zeldin reportedly even finishing his speech after the incident.

Speaking about the incident, Chenelly told Fox News, “His right hand came up, I assume out of his pocket, and he had a blade on his hand. His fingers were like two finger holes in the blade and lunged at the congressman. And Congressman Zeldin blocked the first lunge. And then as he tried to lunge again, I grabbed him from behind and tackled him down to the ground and held him on the ground.”

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Following the attack, Rep. Zeldin predicted on Twitter, “The attacker will likely be instantly released under NY’s laws,” and he was correct.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that Jakubonis was arraigned in Perinton Town Court and released on his own recognizance after being charged with felony attempted assault in the second degree.

Needless to say, the news of someone armed with a bladed instrument launching an attack on a congressman being released within hours of the incident has sparked some heavy criticism.

Desi Cuellar, a Republican congressional candidate out of Queens, remarked, “This guy tried to stab a man running for Governor and is back on the streets?!? New York has truly become a sick place run by criminals!”

Ben Domenech from The Spectator expressed similar sentiments, mentioning, “Attempt to stab a GOP Congressman on stage, get released on your own recognizance. New York, everybody.”

A motive in the attack hasn’t been shared by authorities, nor is there any word whether Jakubonis has had previous run-ins with law enforcement prior to the attack.

According to a report from Newsweek, Jakubonis is a veteran who served in Iraq and was possibly inebriated at the time of the attack. A LinkedIn profile presumably belonging to Jakubonis shows that he is “actively seeking employment,” however, the LinkedIn account has been dormant since 2017.

This piece was written by Gregory Hoyt on July 22, 2022. It originally appeared in and is used by permission.

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