- The Washington Times
Friday, October 28, 2022

A 42-year-old California man broke into the home of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco early Friday and attacked her husband, Paul, with a hammer while asking “Where is Nancy?” authorities said.

Police identified the alleged attacker as David Depape, who is reportedly a resident of Berkley. He is being charged with attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse and other felonies.

Mr. Pelosi, 82, was taken to the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery. The speaker’s office said he underwent successful surgery to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands.

Mrs. Pelosi, meanwhile, was in Washington at the time of the attack. She flew back to San Francisco to be at her husband’s bedside.

Media reports on the suspect’s social media posts showed several postings about censorship by “elites,” and antisemitic remarks.

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said police were dispatched to the Pelosi home for a well-being check at 2:27 a.m. and found both Mr. Pelosi and the suspect holding onto a hammer. The assailant pulled it away from Mr. Pelosi and attacked him with it before officers subdued him.

“The motive for this attack is still being determined,” Chief Scott said during a brief update in which officials declined to take questions.
Both Mr. Pelosi and Mr. Depape received medical care.

The speaker’s office had confirmed the incident earlier Friday and said the motive was under investigation.

“Mr. Pelosi was taken to the hospital, where he is receiving excellent medical care and is expected to make a full recovery,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said. “The speaker was not in San Francisco at the time.”

The U.S. Capitol Police said it is assisting the FBI and San Francisco Police with the investigation, and confirmed the speaker was in Washington with her protective detail at the time of the incident.

Capitol Police also said special agents with its California Field Office “quickly arrived on scene,” while a team of investigators from its Threat Assessment Section was dispatched from the East Coast to assist the FBI and the San Francisco Police.

Paul Pelosi married Mrs. Pelosi in 1963 and they have five children together. He was recently in the news after getting five days in jail and three years of probation for driving under the influence.

The White House said President Biden is praying for Mr. Pelosi and his family.

“This morning he called Speaker Pelosi to express his support after this horrible attack,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “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.”

Mr. DePape used his Facebook page, which has been taken down, to post about COVID-19 conspiracies, say former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin’s trial was a “lynching” and link to videos produced by My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell that allege the 2020 election was stolen, according to a CNN review.

“This morning’s terrifying attack on Paul Pelosi by a man obsessed with election conspiracies is a dangerous reality encouraged by some members of my own party,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Illinois Republican, tweeted, adding about Mr. Pelosi: “I’m thankful he will be okay.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom tied the attack to divisive rhetoric.

“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,” Mr. Newsom, a Democrat, said. “Those who are using their platforms to incite violence must be held to account.”

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer expressed sympathy and said the attack was a “dastardly act.”

“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,” Mr. Schumer said.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also said he was “horrified and disgusted” by the attack.

“Grateful to hear that Paul is on track to make a full recovery and that law enforcement including our stellar Capitol Police are on the case,” the Kentucky Republican tweeted.

Sources confirmed to The Washington Times that the assailant asked for the speaker after entering the home. The revelation will undoubtedly fuel heightened concern about political violence.

Capitol Police in mid-2021 reported that its investigations into threats against members of Congress increased 144% between the first year of President Donald Trump’s term and President Biden’s first year in the White House.

Rep. Steve Scalise, Louisiana Republican, was severely injured when a gunman described as a Bernie Sanders supporter opened fire on a congressional GOP baseball practice in 2017, and Mrs. Pelosi has been the subject of a number of threats.

Georgia resident Cleveland Grover Meredith Jr. was sentenced to more than two years in prison in December for driving to D.C. with a car full of weapons and texting threats about Mrs. Pelosi and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Steven Martis, of Arizona, was sentenced in February to 21 months in prison for calling Mrs. Pelosi‘s office and leaving death threats even after the FBI warned him about such calls in the past.

In April, Florida resident Paul Hoeffer was given an 18-month sentence for making threats against Mrs. Pelosi and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

More recently, California resident Nicholas Roske was arrested in June after traveling to the Maryland home of Justice Brett Kavanaugh and telling police he intended to kill him.

Susan Ferrechio contributed to this story.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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