Paul Pelosi, the 82-year-old husband of Nancy Pelosi, was attacked and beaten with a hammer early Friday morning by a man who broke into the couple’s San Francisco home and searched for the House speaker, reportedly yelling “Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?”
Paul Pelosi underwent successful surgery to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands, and doctors expect that he’ll make a full recovery, Drew Hammill, a spokesman for the House speaker, said in a Friday afternoon statement.
San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said Friday that police were called to the home to check on Paul Pelosi at about 2:30 a.m. When officers arrived, they saw Paul Pelosi and the suspect, identified as 42-year-old David DePape, both holding a hammer.
“The suspect pulled the hammer away from Mr. Pelosi and violently assaulted him with it,” Scott said at press conference. “Our officers immediately tackled the suspect, disarmed him, took him into custody, requested emergency backup, and rendered medical aid.”
DePape will be charged with attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, burglary, and “several other additional felonies,” Scott said.
“The motive for this attack is still being determined,” Scott added.
.@sfpdchief on attack of @SpeakerPelosi's husband: "The suspect pulled the hammer away from Mr. Pelosi and violently assaulted him with it. Our officers immediately tackled the suspect, disarmed him, took him into custody, requested emergency backup and rendered medical aid." pic.twitter.com/VoKhS2HRjx— CSPAN (@cspan) October 28, 2022
Both Paul Pelosi and DePape were transported to a local hospital for treatment, Scott said. Paul Pelosi was admitted to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.
“The Speaker and her family are thankful for the outpouring of support and prayers from friends, constituents and people around the country,” the Friday afternoon statement from the speaker’s office read. “The Pelosi family is immensely grateful to Mr. Pelosi’s entire medical team and the law enforcement officers who responded to the assault. The family appreciates respect for their privacy during this time.”
DePape appears to have made racist and often rambling posts online, including some that questioned the results of the 2020 election, defended former President Donald Trump and echoed QAnon conspiracy theories.
Multiple outlets, citing people who were briefed on the attack, reported that the assailant confronted Paul Pelosi while shouting for the whereabouts of Nancy Pelosi.
The assailant’s reported calls for the House speaker were eerily reminiscent of the Jan. 6 insurrection, when rioters seeking to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory roamed the halls of the Capitol looking for her. Nancy Pelosi, who is the first woman to hold the post of House speaker and is second in the presidential line of succession, has long been the target of Republican and right-wing ire.
The attack on Paul Pelosi highlights lawmakers’ concerns over their safety amid a rise in violent threats following the Capitol insurrection. Republican Senator Susan Collins, whose Bangor, Maine, home was vandalized with a smashed window, recently told The New York Times that she “wouldn’t be surprised if a senator or House member were killed.”
In July, an armed man who threatened to kill Washington Representative Pramila Jayapal was arrested outside of her Seattle home. Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger, a member of the congressional committee investigating the Capitol insurrection, in July shared a recording of profanity-ridden threats his office received while the hearings were ongoing. On Friday, a man pled guilty to making threats to kill a member of Congress after calling California Representative Eric Swalwell’s office and threatening at least three different staffers and the congressman.
At the time of the attack, Nancy Pelosi was in Washington, D.C., with her protective detail, Capitol Police said in a statement. She was scheduled to appear with Vice President Kamala Harris at a fundraising event Saturday night, but canceled the appearance.
The United States Capitol Police said in its statement that the agency is assisting the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the San Francisco Police Department with the investigation.
“Special Agents with the USCP’s California Field Office quickly arrived on scene, while a team of investigators from the Department’s Threat Assessment Section was simultaneously dispatched from the East Coast to assist the FBI and the San Francisco Police with a joint investigation,” the statement said.
President Biden on Friday morning called Nancy Pelosi “to express his support after this horrible attack,” and is “praying for Paul Pelosi and for Speaker Pelosi’s whole family,” according to a statement from the White House.
“He is also very glad that a full recovery is expected,” the statement continued. “The President continues to condemn all violence, and asks that the family’s desire for privacy be respected.”
Members of Congress, including members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation, expressed horror at the attack and sent well wishes to the Pelosis.
“What happened to Paul Pelosi was a dastardly act,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wrote on Twitter. “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.”
What happened to Paul Pelosi was 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.— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) October 28, 2022
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, wrote on Twitter that he was “horrified and disgusted by reports that Paul Pelosi was assaulted in his and Speaker Pelosi’s home last night.”
Horrified and disgusted by the reports that Paul Pelosi was assaulted in his and Speaker Pelosi's home last night. Grateful to hear that Paul is on track to make a full recovery and that law enforcement including our stellar Capitol Police are on the case.— Leader McConnell (@LeaderMcConnell) October 28, 2022
Massachusetts Representative Seth Moulton said on Twitter that he was “disgusted by the violent assault on Paul Pelosi” and highlighted the “quiet conversation” lawmakers engage in over “the fear for our families’ safety.”
This brazen attack is confirmation of that fear. I wish Paul a speedy recovery and my heart is with Nancy and the entire Pelosi family.— Seth Moulton (@sethmoulton) October 28, 2022
“This is terrifying,” Massachusetts Representative Lori Trahan said on Twitter.