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Nancy Pelosi Says Family Is Traumatized After Assault on Her Husband in San Francisco Break-In

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view looking downhill towards two-story red brick home, with 'police line do not cross' yellow tape in foreground
Police tape is seen in front of the Pacific Heights home of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Oct. 28, 2022, in San Francisco. Paul Pelosi, husband of Speaker Pelosi, was violently attacked in the home by an intruder. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Update, 4 p.m. Sunday: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she and her family are "heartbroken and traumatized" by the violent attack on her husband, Paul.

Pelosi noted the quick response of law enforcement and medical experts, and thanked everyone for their prayers. On Saturday evening, a full statement was released on Speaker Pelosi's Twitter account.

Nancy Pelosi's full statement reads:

"Sadly a violent man broke into our family home yesterday morning, demanded to confront me and brutally attacked my husband Paul. Our children, our grandchildren and I are heartbroken and traumatized by the life threatening attack on our Pop. We are grateful for the quick response of law enforcement and emergency services and for the life-saving medical care he is receiving.

"Please know that your prayers and warm wishes are a comfort to our family and helping Paul make progress with his recovery. His condition continues to improve.

"We are also comforted by these words from the Book of Isaiah: "Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

"We thank you for your prayers and warm wishes as well as the work you do to strengthen our Democracy."

Update, 2:45 p.m. Friday: Paul Pelosi underwent successful surgery on Friday to repair a skull fracture and other injuries following an early morning assault at the Pacific Heights home he shares with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to a statement from Drew Hammill, spokesperson for Speaker Pelosi.

“Paul Pelosi was attacked at home by an assailant who acted with force, and threatened his life while demanding to see the Speaker,” Hammill said. “Mr. 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.”

Doctors expect a full recovery, Hammill said, continuing, “The Speaker and her family are thankful for the outpouring of support and prayers from friends, constituents and people around the country,” the statement read.

The suspect, whose full name is David Wayne DePape, was booked into San Francisco County Jail at 1:27 p.m. Friday after being treated at San Francisco General Hospital.

Update, 1:15 p.m. Friday: The FBI's San Francisco field office said via Twitter that it is participating in a joint investigation into the attack on Paul Pelosi at his home early this morning in San Francisco with the San Francisco Police Department and U.S. Capitol Police.

They said the investigation is ongoing, and that David DePape, 42, is in custody. They added that, in this early stage, investigating agencies are working to determine the facts of what happened, including the motive behind the attack. The FBI is providing resources such as investigators and forensic analysis from their Evidence Response Team and will update the public via Twitter @FBISanFrancisco.

Original post, 7 a.m. Friday: Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was attacked and severely beaten with a hammer by an assailant who broke into the couple's San Francisco home early Friday, according to people familiar with the investigation.

Pelosi, 82, suffered blunt force injuries to his head and body, according to two people who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing probe. The attack was not random; the assailant specifically targeted the Pelosi home, the AP's sources said. Pelosi was being treated by doctors for bruising, severe swelling and other injuries.

Drew Hammill, a spokesperson for Speaker Pelosi, said her husband is expected to make a full recovery.

“The Speaker and her family are grateful to the first responders and medical professionals involved, and request privacy at this time," Hammill said in a statement.

Speaker Pelosi was not in the Pacific Heights residence at the time.

When officers arrived just before 2:30 a.m. Friday, they found the suspect and Pelosi both holding a single hammer, San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said during a brief press conference late Friday morning.

"The suspect pulled the hammer away from Mr. Pelosi and violently assaulted him with it," Scott said. "Our officers immediately tackled the suspect, disarmed him, took him into custody, requested emergency backup and rendered medical aid."

A source briefed on the attack told NPR the assailant was searching for Speaker Pelosi, and confronted her husband, shouting, "Where is Nancy, where is Nancy?"

Police identified the suspect as David DePape, 42, who is believed to be a Berkeley resident. Pelosi and DePape were both transported to a local hospital for treatment, Scott said.

DePape will be booked at San Francisco County Jail on charges of attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse and "several other additional felonies," Scott added.

"The motive for this attack is still being determined," he said, noting it is an active investigation being led by SFPD's Special Investigations Division, in collaboration with the FBI, U.S. Capitol Police and several other federal agencies.

Scott did not take any questions during the briefing.

The Capitol Police, tasked with protecting congressional leaders, said Nancy Pelosi was with her protective detail in Washington, D.C., when her husband was attacked. She had just returned this week from a security conference in Europe and is due to keynote an advocacy event Saturday evening with Vice President Kamala Harris.

While the circumstances of the attack are unclear, the attack raises 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 deadly Capitol insurrection. The attack also comes just 11 days ahead of midterm elections in which crime and public safety have emerged as top concerns among Americans.

In 2021, Capitol Police investigated around 9,600 threats made against members of Congress, and members have been violently attacked in recent years. Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was shot in the head at an event outside a Tucson grocery store in 2011, and Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., was severely injured when a gunman opened fire on a Republican congressional baseball team practice in 2017.

"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," Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement. "Our leaders should never fear for their safety and the safety of their families in serving the people they were elected to represent – not in their homes, not at the U.S. Capitol, not anywhere."

Members of Congress have received additional dollars for security at their homes, but some have pushed for more protection as people have showed up at their homes and as members have received an increasing number of threatening communications.

“I’ve experienced firsthand how right wing political violence is on the rise in our country,” said state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), who in June received a bomb threat that led SFPD to search his home. “The violence and threats that we as elected officials – and our families – face every single day badly damage democracy and must end. Words have consequences, and without question, the GOP’s hate and extremism has bred political violence. We must hold accountable leaders and public figures who incite this violence.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul.
Nancy Pelosi and Paul Pelosi attend the 23rd Annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at The Kennedy Center on April 24, 2022, in Washington, DC. On Oct. 28, 2022, an assailant broke into their San Francisco home and 'violently assaulted' Paul Pelosi. (Paul Morigi/Getty Images)

Often at Pelosi’s side during formal events in Washington, Paul Pelosi is a wealthy investor who largely remains on the West Coast. They have five adult children and many grandchildren.

Earlier this year, Paul Pelosi pleaded guilty to misdemeanor driving under the influence charges related to a May crash in California’s wine country and was sentenced to five days in jail and three years of probation.

President Joe Biden and lawmakers from both parties reacted to the assault with shock and expressed well wishes for the Pelosi family.

“What happened to Paul Pelosi was a dastardly act," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. “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.”

“We have been to many events with the Pelosis over the last 2 decades and we’ve had lots of occasions to talk about both of our families and the challenges of being part of a political family. Thinking about the Pelosi family today," tweeted Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that President Joe Biden also has been in contact with Nancy Pelosi.

“The President is praying for Paul Pelosi and for Speaker Pelosi’s whole family,” Jean-Pierre said. “This morning he called Speaker Pelosi to express his support after this horrible attack. He is also very glad that a full recovery is expected. The president continues to condemn all violence, and asks that the family’s desire for privacy be respected.”

This story includes reporting from Kevin Freking, Michael Balsamo and Colleen Long of The Associated Press, and KQED's Matthew Green. It will be updated.

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