At the height of a crime wave across New York state, two 17-year-old boys were shot in the chest during a drive-by shooting outside Rep. Lee Zeldin’s home. Zeldin, who has made crime the focal point of his gubernatorial campaign against Democrat Kathy Hochul, said his daughters were doing homework at the time of the shooting. Security cameras captured three people on his property.
Tina Moore, Yaron Steinbuch; October 10, 2022
The two teens shot near the Long Island home of GOP gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin had been at a recording studio on a reservation in Suffolk County that is known for gang activity, a law enforcement official told The Post.
Joel Murphy and Elijah Robinson, both 17-year-olds from Mastic, suffered gunshot wounds to the chest in the shooting in Shirley, the source said Monday.
Murphy also suffered a lacerated liver, and Robinson sustained an arm wound, the official said.
The high-ranking law enforcement source told The Post the teen victims are “known to the department.”
Investigators are looking into whether a Saturday night feud at a Suffolk County recording studio may be connected to Sunday’s shooting, the source said.
Detectives are investigating the drive-by shooting as gang-related and were still looking for the gunman or gunmen, another law enforcement source said.
Zeldin, 46, who was not at his home at the time of the shooting, told The Post on Sunday that his twin teenage daughters were doing homework when the gunfire erupted.
He said in an interview on Fox News on Monday that 16-year-olds Mikayla and Arianna locked themselves in a bathroom.
“It really freaked them out. This is something where you had two people who got shot who are essentially lying down about 10 feet from where they were doing homework,” he said.
“One of the bullets landed about 30 feet from where the girls were doing homework,” Zeldin continued.
“When we were getting back to the house, I mean, we had to go through crime scene tape, we’re getting advised where to walk so that we were stepping on blood. This is not something that we were planning to return home to when we left for a Columbus Day parade,” he said.
Zeldin said his security cameras captured three people on his property.
“One was lying down underneath our porch or was lying down under a bush in front of our porch just a couple feet away. The third person who wasn’t shot was moving all around the property up and down the porch,” he said.
“It could be gang-related but that doesn’t make you feel any better. I mean, that’s the problem with Chicago right now. It’s a complete disaster,” he continued.
Zeldin, who has made rising crime one of his prime campaign issues, said one reporter asked him an “outrageous” question about politicizing the incident.
“I was answering her questions in front of crime scene tape in front of my own house. And by the way, I was standing outside of my home answering their questions because they asked me to come outside to speak to them,” he said.
“So I said, ‘OK, you’re asking for me to come out to address what happened and happy to do it,’” he said.
“But the reality right now in this state is that viewers don’t feel safe,” Zelding went on to say, adding that people are afraid of being pushed in the subways.
Sources said that while the shooting took place two doors down from Zeldin’s home — and a bullet hit the congressman’s fence — it had “nothing to do with’’ the candidate, who is running on a tough-on-crime platform.
One of the two 17-year-old victims jumped over the congressman’s fence trying to avoid getting shot as the bullets flew, knocking over a “Zeldin for Governor” sign in the process, according to sources.
Zeldin, who has served the 1st Congressional District in the House of Representatives since 2015, is seeking to unseat incumbent Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul on a strong anti-crime agenda.
Recent polls have Zeldin neck-and-neck with Hochul. The Republican challenger has gained ground in recent weeks by tapping into voters’ concern over crime and high taxes.