Intruder Attacks Pelosi’s Husband Calling ‘Where’s Nancy’


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband was attacked and severely beaten with a hammer by an assailant who broke into a San Francisco home early Friday, searching for the Democratic leader and yelling, “Where’s Nancy, where is she? Nancy?”

The attack on 82-year-old Paul Pelosi added new uneasiness to the country’s already toxic political climate, just 11 days before the midterm elections. It carried chilling echoes of the January 6, 2021 uprising at the Capitol, when rioters chanted menacingly for the speaker as they rampaged through the halls, trying to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump.

Speaker Pelosi, who was in Washington, D.C., at the time of the attack, arrived in San Francisco late Friday. Her motorcade was seen arriving at the hospital where her husband was being treated for his injuries.

“It was not a random act. It was intentional. And that’s wrong,” said San Francisco Police Chief William Scott.

At an evening press conference, Scott praised the work of the 911 dispatcher — after Paul Pelosi called for help — as “lifesaving.” The chief appeared to be holding back tears, his voice breaking at times as he strongly rejected violence in politics.

“Our elected officials are here to run the business of their cities, their counties and their states. Their families won’t buy into it,” Scott said. “Everyone should be disgusted by what happened this morning.

David DePape, 42, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, elder abuse and burglary and remained hospitalized late Friday, police said. Paul Pelosi underwent surgery to repair a fractured skull and serious injuries to his right arm and hands, and his doctors expect a full recovery, the spokesman’s office said.

Biden quickly called Speaker Pelosi with support and later fully condemned the “despicable” attack, which he said had no place in America.

“There is too much violence, political violence. Too much hate. Too much vitriol,” Biden said Friday night at a Democratic rally in Pennsylvania.

“Why do we think it won’t disrupt the political climate? Enough is enough is enough.”

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said on Twitter that he was “appalled and disgusted” by the attack.

The nation’s political rhetoric has grown increasingly worrisome, with ominous threats to lawmakers reaching an all-time high. 24-hour security is provided to the Speaker of the House and other Congress leaders, and more and more members are now given police protection. This, as crime and public safety emerged as major issues for voters in the election.

In San Francisco, police were called to the Pelosi residence around 2:30 a.m. Friday to check on Paul Pelosi, Scott said.

Scott confirmed that the intruder gained entry through the back door of the home, which is located in the upscale Pacific Heights neighborhood. Investigators believe the intruder broke through a glass door, according to two people familiar with the situation.

Paul Pelosi called 911 himself after telling the intruder he needed to use the restroom where his phone was charging, according to another person familiar with the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the matter. The person said the intruder confronted the speaker’s husband and yelled, “Where’s Nancy?”

Scott said the dispatcher found there was “something more” than she was told, which led to priority dispatch and a faster police response. “I think it was a life saver,” he noted.

Inside, police discovered the suspect, DePape, and Paul Pelosi struggling over the hammer and told them to drop it, Scott said. DePape grabbed Pelosi’s hammer and began hitting him with it, landing at least one blow before officers arrested him, Scott said. The FBI and Capitol Police are also part of the joint investigation.

Police said a motive for Friday’s break-in was still being determined, but three people with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press that DePape targeted Pelosi’s home. The people were not authorized to publicly discuss the ongoing investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The speaker returned to Washington this week after being abroad and was scheduled to appear with Vice President Kamala Harris on Saturday night at a fundraising event for the LGBTQ Human Rights Campaign. Pelosi canceled her appearance.

On Friday, Harris said, “I strongly believe that each of us must speak out against hate, we must of course speak out against violence and speak out to our better selves.”

An address listed for DePape in the Bay Area college town of Berkeley led to a mailbox at a UPS store.

He was known locally as a nudity activist, demonstrating naked against laws requiring people to be clothed in public.

Gene DePape, the suspect’s stepfather, said the suspect lived with him in Canada until he was 14 and was a quiet boy.

“He was a loner,” Gene DePape said, adding, “He was never violent.”

The stepfather said he had not seen DePape since 2003 and had tried to contact him several times over the years without success.

Lawmakers from both parties reacted with shock and expressed their wishes to the Pelosi family.

“What happened to Paul Pelosi was a despicable act,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. “I spoke with Speaker Pelosi this morning and expressed my deepest concern and heartfelt wishes to her husband and their family for a speedy recovery.”

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy reached out to the speaker privately “to check in on Paula and say he’s praying for a full recovery,” spokesman Mark Bednar said.

But some Republicans refused to stop at politics.

Virginia GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin said of Pelosis at a campaign stop for the congressional candidate: “There’s no room for violence anywhere, but we’re going to send her back to be with him in California.”

As of 2021, Capitol Police have investigated approximately 9,600 threats against members of Congress, and several members have been physically assaulted in recent years. Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was shot in the head at an event outside a Tucson grocery store in 2011, and Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., was critically wounded when a gunman opened fire on the Republican congressman. baseball team practice in 2017.

Members of Congress received additional money to secure their homes, but some pushed for even more protection when people showed up at their residences.

Nancy Pelosi, who is second in line to the presidency, has been savaged by Republicans and outside groups in campaign ads this election cycle. A member of her security guard was with her in Washington at the time of Friday’s attack in California.

Often at her side during formal events in Washington, Paul Pelosi is a wealthy investor who largely stays on the West Coast. They have been married for 59 years and have five grown children and many grandchildren.

Earlier this year, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DUI charges related to a May crash in California wine country and was sentenced to five days in jail and three years of probation.

Pelosi’s home in an affluent neighborhood has been the scene of several protests in the past few years. After Nancy Pelosi was seen on video getting her hair done at a salon while many were closed during the coronavirus pandemic, stylists outside protested with curling irons. Members of the Chinese community recently protested before Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan.

During debates over the federal stimulus package, protesters scrawled signs of anarchy in black paint across garage doors, along with the words “cancel the rent” and “we want it all.” They left a pig’s head in the driveway.

But the dominant sentiments on Friday were support and concern.

“Over the past 2 decades, we’ve been to many events with the Pelosis and had plenty of opportunities to talk about both of our families and the challenges of being part of a political family. Our thoughts are with the Pelosi family today,” Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., tweeted.

Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, pro tempore and third in line for the presidency, said at the Capitol that he has known Paul Pelosi “forever.” He said: “It’s just awful.”


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