House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband was attacked with a hammer by an intruder who broke into the Pelosis’ San Francisco home early Friday morning and shouted at Paul Pelosi, “Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy,” before assaulting him, according to a source briefed on the assault.
Later Friday, Paul Pelosi “underwent successful surgery to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands” from the attack, according to the speaker’s office. The speaker’s office added that Paul Pelosi’s doctors expect him to make a full recovery.
David Wayne Depape, a 42-year-old man from nearby Berkeley, had planned to tie up the speaker’s husband and wait for her to come home, a law enforcement source confirmed. Nancy Pelosi was in Washington, D.C., during the attack, her spokesperson Drew Hamill said.
The suspect was arrested on the scene by officers from the San Francisco Police Department, who arrived on the scene at 2:27 a.m. He will be charged with attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, burglary and several additional felonies, the department said.
San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said Friday that the suspect forced his way into the Pelosi home through a rear door. Scott also told reporters that responding officers witnessed the suspect attacking Paul Pelosi with a hammer.
A senior federal law enforcement official told CBS News that Paul Pelosi managed to call 911 and leave the line open. The dispatcher asked what was wrong and did not get a response, but did hear someone apparently being threatened. The dispatcher, who did not know whose house it was, decided to send emergency services as someone’s life seemed to be in danger, according to the official.
In a news conference Friday night, Scott commended the 911 dispatcher “for her intuition and quick thinking,” calling her actions “lifesaving.”
“Her actions, in my opinion, resulted in both a higher-priority dispatch, and a faster police response,” Scott said.
The federal law enforcement official told CBS News that when officers arrived at the scene, they noticed broken glass and immediately went inside of the house. Scott, however, told reporters that responding officers knocked on the front door, and it was “opened by someone inside” to reveal Pelosi and the suspect just inside the home’s entryway. The officers, still at this point standing outside the home, then “observed Mr. Pelosi and Mr. Depape each with one hand on a single hammer.”
After officers gave commands to both men to drop the hammer, the suspect pulled it from Pelosi’s grip and “violently attacked him” with it, Scott said.
At that point, officers entered the home, tackled the suspect, seized the hammer and arrested him, Scott said.
The Associated Press, citing two people with knowledge of the investigation, reported that Pelosi “suffered blunt force injuries in the attack.”
The San Francisco police chief said the suspect was sent to the hospital as well.
U.S. Capitol Police are assisting the FBI and San Francisco Police Department with a joint investigation.
U.S. Capitol Police said special agents with their field office in California also arrived on scene quickly, and a team of investigators was dispatched from the East Coast to help the FBI and local police with a joint investigation.
A senior congressional source familiar with the matter tells CBS News U.S. Capitol Police is considering additional protection for families of congressional leadership in response to the attack on Paul Pelosi. Congressional leaders travel with multiple officers from the Capitol Police’s dignitary protection department, but their spouses and children do not, which is why there was no protection present when the assailant broke into the Pelosi residence Friday morning.
President Biden, speaking at a Democratic party fundraiser in Pennsylvania Friday night, described the attack as “despicable.”
“There’s too much violence, political violence, too much hatred, too much vitriol,” Mr. Biden said.
Mr. Biden noted that he spoke to Nancy Pelosi by phone, and that she was in good spirits.
The attack on Paul Pelosi occurred under two weeks before the midterm elections, and as concerns about the possibility of violence by domestic extremists have been raised by U.S., state and local officials.
On the same day as the attack on Paul Pelosi, the U.S. government warned of a “heightened threat” to the midterm contests, fueled by a rise in domestic violent extremism (DVE) and driven by ideological grievances and access to potential targets, according to a joint intelligence bulletin obtained by CBS News.
“Potential targets of DVE violence include candidates running for public office, elected officials, election workers, political rallies, political party representatives, racial and religious minorities, or perceived ideological opponents,” the bulletin, published Friday, stated.
The Pelosis have been married since 1963, and have five children.
The top House Democrat will no longer attend an annual dinner Saturday for the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, D.C., the organization confirmed. She was supposed to be a featured speaker.
Lawmakers of both parties shared their responses to the attack on social media.
“I wish Mr Pelosi well & pray for a quick recovery Everyone deserves 2b respected & violence is never okay,” Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley tweeted. And Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier, who represents San Mateo, about 20 miles from San Francisco, said in a tweet, “Thank God @SpeakerPelosi‘s husband Paul is safe after being attacked in their home by an assailant. While the motive is still unknown we know where this kind of violence is sanctioned and modeled.”
A spokesperson for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said McCarthy “reached out to the speaker to check in on Paul and said he’s praying for a full recovery and is thankful they caught the assailant.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement that he had spoken with Pelosi and called the assault on her husband “a dastardly act.” And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he was “Horrified and disgusted” by the reports of the assault, and “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.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Biden is “praying for Paul Pelosi and for Speaker Pelosi’s whole family.”
“This morning he called Speaker Pelosi to express his support after this horrible attack,” 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.”
— Michael Kaplan, Pat Milton, Nicole Sganga and Jeff Pegues contributed to this report.