SAN FRANCISCO — A man broke into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco home and severely beat her 82-year-old husband, Paul Pelosi, with a hammer early Friday while the Democratic lawmaker was in Washington.
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 Speaker’s Bureau said. In a letter to her congressional colleagues Saturday night, Nancy Pelosi said her husband’s condition “continues to improve.”
David DePape, 42, has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, elder abuse and burglary, police said.
“It wasn’t a random act. It was intentional. And it’s wrong,” San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said.
The violence was the latest jolt in a political system increasingly fractured and torn by extremism.
An overview of what is known about the attack and the suspect:
A hammer-wielding intruder forced his way through a back door at the Pelosi residence in San Francisco shortly before 2:30 a.m. Friday. The man confronted Paul Pelosi and shouted “Where’s Nancy,” according to a person familiar with the situation who was granted anonymity to discuss it.
Paul Pelosi himself called 911 and when police arrived they found him struggling with the assailant. The man managed to hit Pelosi at least once with the hammer before being tackled by officers and arrested, police said.
Nancy Pelosi was in Washington at the time of the attack.
HOW IS PAUL PELOSI?
He underwent surgery to repair a fractured skull and serious injuries to his right arm and hands, and his doctors expect a full recovery, the president’s office said Friday. Other than Nancy Pelosi’s letter to her colleagues, there were no updates on her condition on Saturday.
Nancy Pelosi arrived in San Francisco on Friday evening. The couple have been married since 1963.
In her letter, the speaker thanked her colleagues for their prayers and warm wishes. “Our children, our grandchildren and I are heartbroken and traumatized by the potentially deadly attack on our Pop,” she wrote. “We are grateful for the quick response from law enforcement and emergency services, and for the life-saving medical treatment he is receiving.”
WHAT ARE INVESTIGATORS SAYING?
Scott, the San Francisco police chief, said the attack was not a random act. “It was intentional,” he said.
Police did not immediately confirm a motive, but three people with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press that the assailant was targeting Pelosi’s home.
The FBI and Capitol Police are also part of the joint investigation.
WHO IS THE SUSPECT?
DePape was to be charged next week with attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse and burglary. After his arrest, he was taken to hospital, where he remained on Friday evening.
DePape posted frequently on social media, often making racist and rambling comments that included questioning the 2020 election results, defending former President Donald Trump and echoing QAnon conspiracy theories.
A resident of the San Francisco Bay Area for two decades, he was locally known as a pro-nudity activist who had picketed naked in protests against laws requiring people to be clothed in public.
He grew up in Powell River, British Columbia, before following an older girlfriend to California. He has three children with two wives. Stepfather Gene DePape said the suspect lived with him in Canada until he was 14 and was a quiet boy.
“He was reclusive,” Gene DePape said. “He was never violent.
HAVE OTHER MEMBERS OF CONGRESS BEEN THREATENED?
It’s been almost two years since the riot at the US Capitol, when Trump supporters broke into the building and chased Pelosi and other members of Congress. Since then, threats against lawmakers and their families have risen sharply.
US Capitol Police investigated nearly 10,000 threats against members last year, more than double the number four years earlier.
Lawmakers pushed for better security, especially for their families and homes outside of Washington. Security officials have promised to pay for upgrades to some security systems and an increased Capitol police presence outside of Washington. But the vast majority of members are mostly alone.
The attack on Paul Pelosi happened when Nancy Pelosi was out of town, which meant there was less of a security presence in their home.
startribune Gt Itly