Two people shot dead outside the home of a New York gubernatorial candidate who focused on crime

Two teenagers were gunned down Sunday outside the Long Island home of Rep. Lee Zeldin (R), who has sought to make tackling crime a central issue in his long-running campaign for New York governor against the incumbent Democratic , Governor Kathy Hochul.

The teens were walking down the street when a person in a passing vehicle fired multiple shots at them, the Suffolk County Police Department said in a statement. The teenagers “were beaten and tried to hide in the yard”, police said. A third teenager who was walking with them fled, the statement said.

The two victims, both 17, were being treated for non-life-threatening injuries, police said. Police did not state the cause of the shooting, but said investigators “do not believe there was any connection” to Zeldin’s work or campaign. As of Monday afternoon, no arrests had been made, police said.

Zeldin said his two 16-year-old daughters were home when the shooting began. They heard the shots, ran upstairs and “locked themselves in the bathroom”, he wrote in a statement Sunday afternoon. One girl called 911 and the other called Zeldin and his wife, who were returning home from a parade in the Bronx, he said.

On Sunday night, Zeldin told reporters, “I’m standing in front of the crime scene tape in front of my own house” and “You can’t outrage me any more than right now.”

On Monday, Zeldin told Fox Business Network that “one of the bullets landed about 30 feet” from where her daughters were sitting in the kitchen. “I don’t know anything about shooters,” he said. “I don’t know who shot these two people. I don’t know what the motive was.

It is the second violent episode to unfold as all four-term members of Congress campaign for governor. In July, a man was arrested for attempting to stab Zeldin at a campaign event. The suspect, a veteran, told police he had been drinking before the episode.

Zeldin has made crime and public safety a key issue in his difficult campaign against Hochul, who was elevated to governor after then-Governor Andrew M. Cuomo abruptly resigned last year in amid allegations of sexual misconduct and inaccurate reporting of covid-19 deaths at nursing homes.

Public polls show Hochul with a double-digit lead over Zeldin, whose party hasn’t won a statewide office in New York in two decades. But the shooting renewed Zeldin’s call to make crime-fighting the defining issue of the campaign.

“We need to roll back the pro-criminal laws in Albany,” Zeldin told Fox Business Network on Monday, referring to recently enacted bail law changes in New York that Republicans say shortened the length of bail. detention of a violent suspect. keep. “We have to take our streets back. It’s something that motivated me to get into this race in the first place.

Zeldin’s tough-on-crime message has also been fueled by headline-grabbing violence, including the fatal stabbing of an emergency services worker in Queens two weeks ago and the death by ball of a mother of three in Buffalo last week. New York Mayor Eric Adams (D), a former police captain, also urged lawmakers to help reduce crime in New York.

Hochul, for his part, answered such calls with actions from Albany. In September, she announced that the state would send $20 million to local law enforcement. That month, she also outlined plans to install cameras on every subway car in the city.

In New York, murders were down, but other major crimes — including rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, armed robbery and auto theft — rose in the first nine months. year over a year ago, according to data from the New York Police Department. But the number of shooting incidents and casualties during this period fell by more than 12%.

In Suffolk County, the number of shootings reported in the first eight months of the year is down about 11% from a year ago, according to data released in September by the Division of Health Services. New York State Criminal Justice. The number of people slaughtered during this period fell by nearly 22%, according to the division.


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