Who is David Jakubonis? Lee Zeldin's attacker is a medal-winning Army vet with mental health issues
FAIRPORT, NEWYORK: A Fairport man has been charged with attempted assault for his involvement in an attack on Congressman Lee Zeldin during a campaign event in Perinton on the night of July 21, in Fairport, New York. Zeldin is the Republican candidate for governor in New York State. The suspect responsible for the attack was identified overnight Friday as 43-year-old David Jakubonis of Fairport. He was charged with attempted assault in the second degree.
The man “wrestled” with Zeldin for a moment before pulling out a knife, WROC reported. A video posted on Twitter showed the man appearing to grab Zeldin’s arm and the two fell to the ground, The Associated Press reported. After a brief tussle, some members of the audience disarmed the man and subdued him with zip-ties pulled from campaign posters, WHEC-TV reported. The attacker was wearing a black cap, sunglasses, a t-shirt, and black shorts on the day of the attack.
Lee Zeldin is the Republican nominee currently running against New York governor Kathy Hochul. Jakubonis allegedly said, "Okay, you're done" before attacking him. The New York Post reported that Jakubonis, 43, of Fairport, has some mental health issues that got into a “rapid decline” in the aftermath of the death of his wife, Candyce, and his medical discharge in 2012, according to a former neighbor. The neighbor said, "He’s going through some kind of nervous breakdown. He became more and more detached over the years after his wife died. He’s a peculiar guy, he has social issues. He would say or do things like an adolescent would do.” Even the current neighbors were not surprised after his attack on Zeldin.
The former neighbor also explained that Jakubonis and Candyce were heavy drinkers and that it won't come as a surprise if he would still be drinking heavily. The neighbor tried to reach out to Jakubonis in the previous week via Facebook but was unsuccessful in getting hold of him. The neighbor continued, "Honestly, bro, there was something that I couldn’t place with him. There was something not right about how he would talk. Not like I thought this guy was going to go nuts, but he didn’t seem connected to reality.” While it is clear that Jakubonis has mental issues, he did have a pretty inspiring career in the Army. Following his wife's death, the custody of the twins was given to Jakubonis' brother.
Check out the video of the attack here.
Who is David Jakubonis?
According to the publication, Army Major Jackie Wren explained that Jakubonis served in the Army as a Medical Laboratory Specialist from January 2007 to January 2012 and was deployed to Iraq from December 2008 to December 2009. At the end of the service, he held the rank of specialist (E4). He also explained that he had no ordinary Army career as it was full of several accolades. Throughout his run, Jakubonis received a Bronze Star, Army Commendation, and two Army Achievement medals as well as one for Good Conduct and the National Defense Service medal.
Way before he enorolled in Army, David studied clinical laboratory sciences at George Washington University in 2007 and 2008. From 2012 to 2014, he studied criminal justice and psychology at the Rochester Institute of Technology. As per his LinkedIn profile, he joined the RIT’s Veterans Club in 2014 and is still the group’s chief of morale. After finishing his course, he joined the Army and served as a medical laboratory technician from 2007 to 2012. The profile also shows that he is actively looking for a job, and the bio simply reads, "Hire me."