PERINTON, N.Y. (WROC) — New York Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Republican running for governor, was attacked at a campaign event Thursday night.
Witnesses say Zeldin, 42, was giving a speech about bail reform at a VFW in Perinton, New York, when a man — reportedly an Iraq War veteran under the influence of alcohol — stumbled through the crowd. He then climbed on the stage and pulled out a knife.
American Veterans National Director Joe Chenelly reportedly stopped the alleged attacker from lunging at Zeldin. Those on the scene were able to zip-tie him and get the weapon away before he was taken into custody by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
A witness who was with Zeldin after the attack said Zeldin was not hurt, and he took the stage again when it was over.
Chenelly said he vows to get the man in custody the help he needs.
“When he said he served in Iraq, I got down hands on my knees and said ‘you know, we’re going to get through whatever you’ve done here tonight’ and told him you’re going to get better and focus on that and said you can contact me after this thing is done,” Chenelly said. “We’ll help you find the services you need.”
Zeldin, 42, has represented New York’s 1st District since 2015. He will face incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul in November. Zeldin is a vocal critic of Hochul, who he recently called “a Pez dispenser of corruption.”
“Congressman Zeldin, Alison Esposito, and all members of Team Zeldin are safe following tonight’s attack,” his campaign said ini a statement. “Far more must be done to make New York safe again. This is very much getting out of hand in this state. Unfortunately, Congressman Zeldin is just the latest New Yorker whose life has been affected by the out-of-control crime and violence in New York.”
Zeldin expressed his gratitude for the people who helped during the incident.