Intruder at Pelosi home shouted ‘where is Nancy?’ before assaulting husband with hammer, source says

Intruder at Pelosi home shouted ‘where is Nancy?’ before assaulting husband with hammer, source says

Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was violently assaulted with a hammer by a man who broke into the couple’s San Francisco home early Friday morning, local police said.

The assailant was searching for the House speaker, shouting, “Where is Nancy, where is Nancy?” before assaulting 82-year-old Paul Pelosi, a source briefed on the attack told CNBC. Nancy Pelosi was not in San Francisco at the time.

The attacker, identified as 42-year-old David DePape, is being charged with attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse “and several other additional felonies,” San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said at a news conference later Friday.

Both men were taken to the hospital for treatment, Scott said, adding that police are still investigating DePape’s motive. He was booked Friday afternoon in San Francisco County Jail.

In a press conference Friday evening, Scott said, “This was not a random attack. This was intentional. And it’s wrong,” He added, “Our elected officials are here to do the business of their cities, their counties, and their states, and this nation. Their families don’t sign up for this — to be harmed. And it’s wrong.”

Paul Pelosi underwent a successful surgery to repair “a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said in a statement later Friday. “His doctors expect a full recovery.”

San Francisco police officers and F.B.I. agents gather in front of the home of U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on October 28, 2022 in San Francisco, California. Paul Pelosi, the husband of U.S. Speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi, was violently attacked in their home by an intruder. 

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

The U.S. Capitol Police said it is assisting the San Francisco police and the FBI with a joint investigation.

The department noted that Nancy Pelosi was in Washington, D.C., with her protective detail when the break-in occurred.

Scott said that police were dispatched to the Pelosi residence at 2:27 a.m. PT. When they arrived at the scene, the officers saw the suspect and Paul Pelosi both holding a hammer. DePape pulled the hammer away from Pelosi and violently assaulted him with it before being tackled to the ground by police, Scott said.

Police took no questions at the news conference.

San Francisco police chief Bill Scott (R) speaks to reporters about the break in and attack at the home of U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on October 28, 2022 in San Francisco, California.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

The White House said that President Joe Biden is “praying for Paul Pelosi and for Speaker Pelosi’s whole family.”

The president called Nancy Pelosi on Friday morning to “express his support after this horrible attack,” the White House said in a statement, adding that Biden “continues to condemn all violence, and asks that the family’s desire for privacy be respected.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called the attack “a dastardly act.”

“I spoke with Speaker Pelosi earlier this morning and conveyed my deepest concern and heartfelt wishes to her husband and their family, and I wish him a speedy recovery,” Schumer said in a statement.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, the chamber’s Republican leader, said he was “horrified and disgusted by the reports.”

It’s not the first time the Democratic House speaker, also 82, has been targeted with threats.

A North Carolina man, Cleveland Meredith, was sentenced last December to 28 months in prison after pleading guilty to threatening to shoot Pelosi. Meredith, 53, had traveled to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, planning to attend rallies on that day, but didn’t arrive until the evening, when the pro-Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol had been tamped down.

Another man, 77-year-old Steven Martis of Arizona, was sentenced in February to 21 months behind bars for threatening to kill Pelosi in messages to her D.C. office.

San Francisco police officers and F.B.I. agents gather in front of the home of U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on October 28, 2022 in San Francisco, California. Paul Pelosi, the husband of U.S. Speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi, was violently attacked in their home by an intruder. 

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

And in April, Florida man Paul Hoeffer, 60, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for phone calls in which he threatened to behead Pelosi and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., another frequent target of criticism from the political right.

The attack on Paul Pelosi comes as the U.S. Capitol Police recorded a drastic rise in threat cases — a 144% increase from 2017 to 2021, according to the department.

Other high-profile public figures have also recently come under threat. In June, California man Nicholas Roske, 26, was arrested and charged with attempted murder after allegedly traveling to the Maryland home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and telling police he intended to kill him.

The Department of Homeland Security said in June that the U.S. is in a “heightened threat environment” that was expected to grow “more dynamic” in the coming months.

Paul Pelosi made news in May when he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in Napa County, California. He pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor DUI charge in August.

Both Paul and Nancy Pelosi have also come under scrutiny for their investment activities, after the House speaker said she opposed legislation that would ban members of Congress from owning individual stocks. She later reversed her stance on the stock trading ban.

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