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Two people shot dead outside New York gubernatorial candidate’s home

Two teens were gunned down outside the Long Island home of Representative Lee Zeldin (R) on Sunday, who has tried to make crime-fighting a focal point in his long-running campaign for New York governor against Democratic incumbent governor Kathy Hochul.

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

The two victims, both 17, were treated for non-life-threatening injuries, police said. Police have not given a reason for the shooting, but said investigators “do not believe there is any connection” to Zeldin’s work or campaign. No arrests had been made as of Monday afternoon, police said.

Zeldin said his two 16-year-old daughters were at home when the shooting began. They heard the shots, ran upstairs and “locked themselves in the bathroom,” he wrote in a… pronunciation Sunday afternoon. One daughter called 911 and the other called Zeldin and his wife, who were driving 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 home,” and, “You can’t get me more outraged than right now.”

On Monday, Zeldin told Fox Business Network that “one of the bullets landed about 30 feet” from where his daughters were sitting in the kitchen. “I don’t know anything about the 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 the congressman’s four-term campaign for governor. In July, a man was arrested for attempting to stab Zeldin at a campaign event. The suspect, a military veteran, told police he had been drinking before the episode.

Zeldin has made crime and public safety a main theme in his grueling campaign against Hochul, who was elevated to the governor’s office after then-Governor Andrew M. Cuomo abruptly resigned last year amid allegations of sexual misconduct and inaccurate reporting of covid-19 deaths in nursing homes.

Public opinion polls show Hochul has a two-figure lead over Zeldin, whose party hasn’t won a statewide office in New York in 20 years. But the shooting has renewed Zeldin’s call to make crime the campaign’s defining theme.

“We need to roll back the pro-criminal laws in Albany,” Zeldin told Fox Business Network on Monday, referring to changes to the bail law recently enacted in New York that Republicans say will extend the time a violent suspect is detained. shortened. custody. “We have to take back our streets. This is something that motivated me to participate in this race in the first place. ”

Zeldin’s harsh message about crime has also been fueled by violence making headlines, including the fatal stabbing of an emergency worker in Queens two weeks ago and the death of a mother of three in Buffalo last week. New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D), a former police captain, has also urged lawmakers to reduce crime in New York.

Hochul, for its part, has responded to such calls with action from Albany. In September, she announced that the state would send $20 million to local law enforcement. That month, she also highlighted her plan to install cameras on every subway in the city.

In New York City, the homicide rate has declined, but other major crimes — including rapes, robberies, misdemeanors, burglaries, grand thefts and car thefts — have increased in the first nine months of the year compared to a year ago, according to data from the New York Times. New York police. But the number of shooting incidents and casualties fell by more than 12 percent in that period.

In Suffolk County, the number of reported shooting incidents for the first eight months of the year is down about 11 percent from a year ago, according to data released in September by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. The number of people shot during that period has fallen by almost 22 percent, according to the division.

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