Nancy Pelosi's husband 'violently attacked' by intruders at California home, police say

The suspect in custody grew up in SM; US House Speaker Pelosi was in Washington at the time

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband was allegedly assaulted and beaten with a hammer by an assailant who broke into the couple's San Francisco home Friday morning looking for the Democratic leader and shouted: "Where's Nancy, where's Nancy?"

The attack on Paul Pelosi, 82, injected new unease into the already toxic political climate in the US, just 11 days before the midterm elections. It carries a chilling echo of the January 6, 2021, revolt in the Capitol as rioters chanted threatening speakers as they rampaged through the halls trying to stop US President Joe Biden's certification of victory over Donald Trump.

Speaker Pelosi, who was in Washington at the time of the California attacks, arrived in San Francisco late Friday and went straight to the hospital where her husband is being treated for his injuries. He underwent surgery to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hand, his office said. Her doctor is hoping for a full recovery.

"This was not a random act. It was intentional. And it was wrong," said San Francisco Police Chief William Scott.

He seemed to hold back his emotions when he balked at violence in politics.

"Our elected officials are here to do their city and county business and their state. Their families didn't sign up for this," Scott said. "Everyone must be fed up with what happened this morning."

A 42-year-old suspect, David DePape, was arrested on charges of attempted murder, parental abuse and robbery and remained in hospital late Friday, police said.

Biden was quick to call the Speaker in support and later delivered a strong condemnation of the "despicable" attack which he said had no place in America.

"Too much violence, too much political violence. Too much hate. Too much vitriol," Biden said Friday night at a Democratic rally in Pennsylvania.

"What makes us think it won't damage the political climate? Enough is enough."

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell tweeted that he was "horrified and disgusted" by the attack. Political rhetoric in the US has become increasingly alarming, with an ominous threat to lawmakers at an all-time high. The Speaker of the House and other congressional leaders are provided with 24-hour security, with a growing number of members now receiving police protection. Motive is being investigated San Francisco police were called Friday at around 2:30 am local time to Pelosi's residence, Scott said.

Scott confirmed that the intruder entered through the back door of the house, which is in the upscale Pacific Heights neighborhood. Investigators believe the intruder broke through the glass-paneled door, according to two people familiar with the situation.

Paul called 911 himself after telling the intruder he had to use the restroom, where his phone was charging, according to a person familiar with the situation and providing anonymity to discuss it.

Scott said 911 officers knew there was "something more" to the call, resulting in priority dispatch and a quicker police response. "I think it saves lives," he said.

Inside, police found the two men fighting over a hammer, Scott said. DePape allegedly pulled a hammer from Pelosi and started beating her with it, striking at least one blow, before being caught by officers and arrested, he said.

Police said a motive was still being determined, but three people familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press that DePape targeted Pelosi's home. The people were not authorized to speak publicly about the ongoing investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity. DePape is being held in the county jail.

The House speaker returned to Washington this week after being abroad, and was scheduled to appear with Vice President Kamala Harris at a fundraising event Saturday night for the LGBTQ Human Rights Campaign. He canceled his appearance.

On Friday, Harris said, "I really believe that each of us should speak out against hate, we should speak out against violence clearly, and speak to our better selves."

Suspect grew up in Canada

An address registered for DePape in the Bay Area college town of Berkeley leads to a post office box at the UPS Store.

He is known locally as a pro-nudity activist who pickets naked at protests against a law requiring people to dress in public.

DePape grew up in Powell River, B.C., before leaving about 20 years ago to follow an older girlfriend to San Francisco.

His stepfather, Gene DePape, told The Associated Press that DePape lived with him in Canada until he was 14 and was a quiet child.

"He's closed off," said Gene DePape, adding, "He's never violent."

The stepfather said he had not seen DePape since 2003 and tried to contact him several times over the years without success. 'Cowardly act'

US lawmakers reacted to the attack with shock and extended their best wishes to the Pelosi family.

"What happened to Paul Pelosi was an act of cowardice," said US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. "I spoke with Chair Pelosi this morning and conveyed my deepest concerns and hopes to her husband and their family, and I wish him a speedy recovery."

Republican leader Kevin McCarthy personally contacted the Speaker "to check on Paul and said he was praying for a full recovery," spokesman Mark Bednar said. But some Republicans refuse to take a break from politics.

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, at a campaign stop for a congressional candidate, said of Pelosis: "There is no room for violence anywhere, but we will send her back to be with her in California." Threats to MPs

In 2021, Capitol Police investigated about 9,600 threats made against members of Congress, and several members have been attacked in recent years. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, was shot in the head at an event outside a Tucson grocery store in 2011, and Rep. Steve Scalise, a Louisiana Republican, was seriously injured when a gunman opened fire on the Republican congressional baseball team. in 2017.

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

Nancy Pelosi, who is second in line to the presidency, has been viciously booed in campaign advertisements by Republicans and outsiders during this election cycle, which will determine control of the US Congress. His protective security details were with him in Washington at the time of Friday's attack in California.

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