‘Not a random act’: Details of the attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi

Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, underwent surgery to repair a fractured skull after being hit with a hammer inside his San Francisco home on Friday. Law enforcement sources told CBS News that the intruder shouted “Where’s Nancy?” and planned to hold Paul Pelosi until he got home.

Police did not comment on a motive, but said it was “not a random act” and that it was targeted and “wrong”.

With the shooter inside the home, police say Paul Pelosi was able to make an open call to 911 around 2 a.m. Friday. The dispatcher could hear what sounded like someone being threatened in the background and sent a high-priority alert to law enforcement, according to federal sources.

The dispatcher’s actions “in my opinion led to both a higher priority dispatch and a faster police response,” San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said Friday. “I think that was a lifesaver.”

When police arrived at the scene, they saw signs of forced entry, including broken windows.

“Our officers observed Mr. Pelosi and the suspect both holding a hammer,” Scott said. “The suspect pulled the hammer from Mr. Pelosi and violently assaulted him with it.”

Attack on Pelosi's husband
Police tape blocks a street outside the home of Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in San Francisco, Oct. 28, 2022.

Eric Risberg/AP

The suspect, 42-year-old David Wayne DePape, was immediately arrested by police. He will be charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, burglary and several additional felonies, authorities said.

A CBS News review of suspicious social media posts by DePape shows him spreading conspiracy theories about Holocaust denial, pedophiles in government and allegations that Democratic officials run child sex rings.

Nancy Pelosi, who was in Washington, DC, at the time of the attack, was rushed to a San Francisco hospital where Paul “underwent successful surgery to repair a fractured skull and serious injuries to his right arm and hands “, according to Nancy’s office. He is expected to make a full recovery.

But the break-in raises concerns about the safety of members of Congress and their families. Capitol Police are responsible for the security of Nancy Pelosi and the security of other members of Congress. Law enforcement officials told CBS News they don’t have the resources — nor is it standard protocol for them — to protect lawmakers’ families around the clock.

President Biden condemned the attack on the campaign trail Friday night in Philadelphia: “Every good person of good conscience must stand up clearly and unequivocally against violence.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote that he was “appalled and disgusted” by reports of the incident. And Texas Republican Ted Cruz, a longtime critic of Pelosi, tweeted: “We can have our political differences, but violence is always wrong and unacceptable.”

But on Friday, just days before the midterm elections, the Department of Homeland Security issued a new bulletin warning of an “increased threat” against “candidates running for public office, elected officials” and “election officials.” He said some violent extremists may be motivated by “different perceptions of issues like government overreach, gun regulation and immigration policy” — issues that were front and center before the midterms.

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