‘Where is Nancy?’: Suspect who assaulted Paul Pelosi with hammer was searching for House speaker

A spokesperson for Ms Pelosi says the House speaker was not at home at the time of the attack

Andrew Feinberg
Friday 28 October 2022 23:52 BST
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Nancy Pelosi’s husband ‘violently assaulted’ during home invasion in California
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Paul Pelosi, the husband of House speaker Nancy Pelosi, is in hospital after he was attacked by a hammer-wielding assailant who invaded the couple’s California home in search of the long-time Democratic legislator.

San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) chief Bill Scott on Friday said officers who responded to an urgent call for service at Ms Pelosi’s San Francisco townhouse encountered a man later identified as 42-year-old David Depape in a struggle with Mr Pelosi over a hammer.

Mr Scott said the officers witnessed Mr Depape wrest the hammer from Mr Pelosi and proceed to “violently assault” the 82-year-old.

David DePape is shown in Berkeley, California in 2013 (AP)

“Our officers immediately tackled the suspect, disarmed him, took him into custody, requested emergency back-up, and rendered medical aid,” Mr Scott said.

He added that Mr Depape is currently being held at the San Francisco County Jail, and will be arraigned on charges of attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, burglary, and “several other additional felonies”.

Mr Scott said the motive for the assault was still being looked into by investigators from the SFPD, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and US Capitol Police (USCP). But sources familiar with the matter have said that the alleged assailant specifically targeted the home of Mr and Ms Pelosi, and was there looking for the House speaker.

Sources also said he made his intentions clear by shouting “Where is Nancy?” as he assaulted Mr Pelosi.

Drew Hammill, a deputy chief of staff and spokesperson for Ms Pelosi, said Mr Pelosi was taken to the hospital, adding that he is “receiving excellent medical care and is expected to make a full recovery”.

Police tape blocks a street outside the home of Paul and Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco (AP)

“The speaker and her family are grateful to the first responders and medical professionals involved, and request privacy at this time,” he said.

In a statement, the USCP said special agents with the department’s California field office are assisting the FBI and SFPD with a “joint investigation” into the break-in, including the alleged assailant’s motivations.

“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,” a department spokesperson said in a statement.

The spokesperson added that investigators “will provide more information when it can be released”.

Mr Pelosi, an investor and financier who was born and raised in San Francisco, has been married to Ms Pelosi, a native of Baltimore, since 1963.

He became an object of fascination for conservative media outlets in May 2022 after police arrested him for driving under the influence of alcohol. He pleaded guilty to the charges in August 2022 and received a sentence of five days in jail, three years’ probation, and a $6,800 (£5,850) fine.

Right-wing media figures accused law enforcement in San Francisco of soft-pedalling the charges against Mr Pelosi, though no evidence exists to suggest that his sentence was out of the ordinary for a first-time offender charged with driving under the influence.

Members of law enforcement work outside the San Francisco home of House speaker Nancy Pelosi (Reuters)

Mr Pelosi also faced increased criticism about his trading stocks, as Democratic members of Congress have proposed banning members and their spouses from trading stocks. The House failed to pass a bill banning the practice before it adjourned for the midterms at the end of last month.

The assault on Mr Pelosi comes as law enforcement officials have reported a record number of threats against elected officials by supporters of former president Donald Trump.

Crime in San Francisco has also become a focal point for local political leaders, with San Francisco district attorney Chesa Boudin facing a recall for his criminal justice policies. Republicans have also attacked Democrats throughout the campaign – particularly in states like California, New York and Pennsylvania – for being soft on crime.

Numerous high-profile Democrats and some anti-Trump Republicans have had to spend campaign and official funds to pay for extra security, and the USCP has had to provide some members with their own security detail. Similarly, the headquarters of Katie Hobbs, Arizona’s Democratic secretary of state who is running for governor, were broken into earlier this week.

Ms Pelosi, who has long had a Capitol Police security detail during her time as speaker and as the leader of the House Democrats, was also the target of violent pro-Trump rioters during the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

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