- The suspect was in search of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a person familiar with the matter said.
- The suspect called out “Where is Nancy?” the source said.
- DePape was charged with multiple crimes, including attempted homicide and elder abuse.
- Paul Pelosi was taken to a hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.
A hammer-wielding attacker who violently assaulted the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi inside the family’s San Francisco home was targeting the longtime California lawmaker, a person familiar with the matter said Friday.
- The suspect, who was arrested after the early morning Friday break-in, called out “Where is Nancy?” the source said.
- San Francisco Police Chief William Scott identified the alleged assailant as 42-year-old David DePape of Berkeley, California.
- DePape was charged with multiple crimes, including attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon and elder abuse.
- Paul Pelosi is in surgery, reports say.
- He suffered blunt force trauma to his head and body. Pelosi, 82, is expected to make a full recovery, the speaker’s office said.
- Nancy Pelosi, who is second in line to the presidency, was in Washington at the time of the assault.
Here’s what we know:
Scott identified the alleged assailant as 42-year-old David DePape, a resident of Berkeley, California.
The suspect who attacked Paul Pelosi was booked on various charges, including attempted homicide, elder abuse, assault with a deadly weapon, “and several other additional felonies,” Scott said.
Police arrived at the Pelosi residence at 2:27 a.m. as part of a “priority well-being check,” Scott said. He said that when officers arrived on the scene, they encountered a man and Paul Pelosi. Both were holding a hammer.
The suspect took the hammer away from Pelosi and “violently assaulted” Pelosi, according to Scott. Officers then immediately tackled the suspect, disarmed him and took him into custody.
Paul Pelosi was taken into surgery following Friday morning’s attack, according to reports.
Secret Service and Capitol Police were guarding the hospital, reports said.
The attack came as public officials have faced dramatically increasing threats across a super-heated political landscape just more than a week before the midterm elections.
The specific targeting of Pelosi recalled some of the most troubling moments of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol assault when rioters sought out the speaker, screaming her name as they stalked the halls and later ransacked her office.
Scott said the motive for the attack remained under investigation and did not address reports that the suspect was looking for the speaker. Law enforcement officials also did not take questions during the short briefing.
The joint inquiry involving U.S. Capitol Police, the FBI and San Francisco Police appeared to underscore law enforcement’s increasing focus on the risk to public officials in the volatile political climate
San Francisco Police responded to a report of a break-in at 2:27 a.m. in the 2600 block of Broadway in the affluent Pacific Heights neighborhood, where the speaker and her husband live.
Special agents from the Capitol Police California field office quickly arrived on the scene, according to authorities, before investigators from multiple agencies were assigned to the case.
“The Speaker and her family are grateful to the first responders and medical professionals involved, and request privacy at this time,” Pelosi’s spokesman Drew Hammill said.
Last year, U.S. Capitol Police announced it was opening regional field offices in California and Florida to better protect members of Congress.
“The USCP has enhanced our staffing within our Dignitary Protection Division as well as coordinated for enhanced security for Members of Congress outside of the National Capitol Region,” the USCP said in July 2021.
The attack raises additional questions about the safety of members of Congress and their families as threats to lawmakers are at an all-time high almost two years after the violent Capitol insurrection.
“What happened to Paul Pelosi was a dastardly act,” Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement. “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.”
President Joe Biden called the speaker to “express his support after this horrible attack” and is praying for Paul Pelosi and the Pelosi family, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “He is also very glad that a full recovery is expected,” she said.
Vice President Kamala Harris said she and second gentleman Doug Emhoff are “appalled” by the attack.
“The entire Pelosi family is in our hearts and we wish him a speedy recovery,” she wrote in a tweet.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he’s “horrified and disgusted” by reports of the assault on Paul Pelosi.
“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,” McConnell said in a statement.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy reached out to Pelosi “to check in on Paul and said he’s praying for a full recovery and is thankful they caught the assailant,” said McCarthy’s office in a statement.
House GOP Whip Steve Scalise, said he was “Disgusted to hear about the horrific assault on Speaker Pelosi’s husband Paul,” in a statement.
In 2017, Scalise was shot in a politically motivated attack at a practice session for the annual Congressional Baseball Game.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who released threatening letters and calls she received this spring after protests outside the homes of Supreme Court justices, said her prayers were with Pelosi, her husband and family.
“I am horrified by this vicious attack on Paul Pelosi at his home,” Collins said.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a frequent critic of the speaker, called Paul Pelosi’s assault “horrific” and said he’s praying for the Pelosi family.
“May God’s protection be upon them. We can have our political differences, but violence is always wrong & unacceptable,” Cruz said in a tweet.
Paul Pelosi pleaded guilty in August to a misdemeanor of driving under the influence charge after he was involved in a May crash in Napa Valley and recorded a .082% blood alcohol level, above the legal limit. He was sentenced to five days in jail and three years of probation.
Paul Pelosi, a wealthy investor, has drawn scrutiny from Republicans for successful stock trades they say are tied to policy.
Speaker Pelosi has access to confidential intelligence and the ability to influence policy decisions that could potentially impact publicly traded companies. Facing public pressure, Congress has debated whether members should be able to buy and sell stocks.
The speaker in December said it’s “a free-market economy” and members should be able to participate in the stock market. Earlier this year, Pelosi said the House would introduce a bill that would ban lawmakers from trading, but it hasn’t reached a floor vote.
Members of Congress have received additional money for security at their homes, but some have pushed for more protection as people have shown up at their homes and as members have received an increasing amount of threatening communications.
This is a developing story. USA TODAY will continue to update.