NEW YORK (AP) – New York congressman and Republican candidate for governor Lee Zeldin said his family is safe after two teenagers were shot outside his Long Island home yesterday.
The boys, both 17, were walking with a third teenager on the street in Shirley, New York, where Zeldin lives when they were hit by gunfire from a moving car, Suffolk County Police said.
The wounded teens then tried to hide in Zeldin’s yard, ducking under his porch and into the bushes, while the person who was with them fled.
The congressman and his wife were not at home at the time of the shooting but their teenage daughters were in the kitchen doing homework when they heard gunshots and screaming, Zeldin said.
“One of the bullets was actually found 9.14 metres (m) from where they sitting,” Zeldin said at a news conference yesterday.
Police said the wounded teens’ injuries were not life-threatening. Both were treated at an area hospital. Authorities didn’t release their names but said the teens are from the nearby towns of Mastic and Mastic Beach.
“At this time investigators have no reason to believe there is any connection between the shooting and the residence,” the Suffolk County Police Department said in a statement.
Zeldin said he didn’t know the identities of the two people who were shot. He said his 16-year-old daughters locked themselves in a bathroom and called 911. The family is shaken but okay, he said. Zeldin and his wife were returning from a parade in the Bronx when the shooting occurred.
He said police officers were at his home investigating yesterday and were looking over the home’s security cameras.
Police had no information to release about who fired the shots, a department spokeswoman said.
Zeldin, who is running against Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul, has made violent crime a focus of his campaign. He has called for the state’s bail laws to be toughened, among other measures. “Like so many New Yorkers, crime has literally made its way to our front door,” Zeldin said yesterday.
He said later in a post on Twitter that his daughters were at the kitchen table when the shooting occurred and that one of the bullets was found 30 feet away from them.
It’s the second scare he’s had in several months. In July, he was assaulted while campaigning in upstate New York when a man approached him onstage and thrust a sharp object near his head and neck. He was uninjured and the man was arrested.
Hochul said in a statement posted on Twitter that she had been briefed on the shooting.
“As we await more details, I’m relieved to hear the Zeldin family is safe and grateful for law enforcement’s quick response,” the governor said.