Man shouted ‘Where is Nancy?’ before attacking Nancy Pelosi’s husband

David DePape to be charged with attempted homicide over attack on Paul Pelosi (82) in San Francisco

US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi was the intended target of an intruder who beat her husband, Paul Pelosi, with a hammer early Friday in their San Francisco home, a person familiar with the investigation said.

The assailant, identified by San Francisco police as David DePape (42), confronted Paul Pelosi and shouted “Where is Nancy, where is Nancy?” before attacking him, the person said.

Police were dispatched to the house for an “A-priority well-being check in the early morning hours and found Paul Pelosi (82), and an intruder struggling over a hammer, San Francisco police chief William Scott said. The man then struck Mr Pelosi in the head and body before being subdued and arrested.

“Paul Pelosi was admitted to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital where he underwent successful surgery to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands, Drew Hammill, the speaker’s spokesman, said in a statement. “His doctors expect a full recovery.”


DePape is in custody and will be charged with a variety of felonies, including attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon and elder abuse, Mr Scott said. He said the motive for the attack was still being investigated.

Nancy Pelosi, also 82, was under protection in Washington at the time but is now on her way to San Francisco, a person familiar with the matter said. As speaker, she is second in line to the presidency after the vice president Kamala Harris.

The attempted attack highlights increasing concern among lawmakers over risks to their safety in a bitterly contentious political environment.

“This heinous assault is yet another example of the dangerous consequences of the divisive and hateful rhetoric that is putting lives at risk and undermining our very democracy and democratic institutions,” California Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, said in a statement. “Those who are using their platforms to incite violence must be held to account.”The assault took place less than two weeks before elections that will determine which party controls the House and Senate. Lawmakers have expressed concern over their personal safety following years of escalating threats against members of Congress that intensified after supporters of then-president Donald Trump attacked the US Capitol on January 6th, 2021.

There have been a number of other high-profile episodes, including two as recently as July. A man was arrested with a gun outside the home of Democratic Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington State. Republican Representative Lee Zeldin of New York, who is running for governor, was attacked during a campaign event. Zeldin struggled with the man and others were able to help subdue him.

Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who has faced violent threats and a smashed window at her home, told the New York Times recently she wouldn’t be surprised if a lawmaker were killed.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement that president Joe Biden called Nancy Pelosi after the attack and is praying for the “whole family”, adding “The president continues to condemn all violence, and asks that the family’s desire for privacy be respected.”

Fellow lawmakers also expressed outrage over the attack.

“While the motive is still unknown we know where this kind of violence is sanctioned and modelled”, said Representative Jackie Speier of California.

Senior Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa wished Paul Pelosi well. “Violence is never okay,” he tweeted.

- Bloomberg