South Florida conservative political activist found dead near Delray

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DELRAY BEACH — A South Florida conservative political activist and fundraiser has died following a shooting in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant last week, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said.

Investigators say Steven Alembik, 72, of Boca Raton shot and wounded a woman, then turned the gun and killed himself on the evening of Oct. 9 outside the BurgerFi restaurant on West Atlantic Avenue in suburban Delray Beach.

Deputies responded after the wounded woman ran into the restaurant to seek help. They found Alembik in a car nearby, PBSO spokesperson Teri Barbera said.

Barbera did not disclose the woman’s name. She said the woman and her family invoked their right to privacy under a 2018 state constitutional amendment modeled on California’s Marsy’s Law. The woman underwent emergency surgery at Delray Medical Center. She remains in critical condition but is expected to survive, PBSO said Wednesday.

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Alembik was the director of SMA Communications, a data provider and mining firm whose clients include Breitbart News, the National Rifle Association, Turning Point USA and Project Veritas. He was also a top donor to Republican political campaigns, including donating more than $20,000 to then-gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis in 2018.

At the time, Alembik grabbed national headlines when Politico reported that he uttered a racial slur against former President Barack Obama on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, in addition to making other inflammatory remarks.

DeSantis’ campaign promptly distanced itself from the remarks. Alembik told Politico he wrote the Obama tweet in anger, adding that he was “absolutely not” a racist.

In 2017, Alembik and his organization, The Truth About Israel, bucked a trend of groups canceling events at Mar-a-Lago following then-President Donald Trump’s remarks about a violent incident at a “Unite The Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which one person died and 19 were injured.

 ”I’m reading about these groups pulling out of Mar-a-Lago and I’m thinking, ‘This is ridiculous,’ “ Alembik, known for wearing jackets and vests featuring bold prints of the American flag, told The Palm Beach Post in a 2017 interview.

“Somebody needs to take a stand here and do something,” he said. “My president is my president. I like what he stands for. With him as president, I don’t have to worry. He’s got Israel’s back.”

Help is available for people experiencing domestic violence or suicidal thoughts. Call the Palm Beach County Victim Services 24-hour helpline at 561-833-7273, or the 24-hour Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.

Julius Whigham II is a criminal justice and public safety reporter for The Palm Beach Post. You can reach him at jwhigham@pbpost.com and follow him on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, at @JuliusWhigham. Help support our work: Subscribe today. 

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