Paul Pelosi, husband of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was assaulted in the family's San Francisco home Friday morning. Here's what The Standard knows so far:
At approximately 2:27 a.m. on Friday morning, San Francisco police officers responded to the 2600 block of Broadway in the Pacific Heights neighborhood for a reported home break-in. The suspect, David DePape, was taken into custody.
Mr. Pelosi was violently attacked with a hammer and taken to a hospital for treatment.
The motive is under investigation. Mr. Pelosi underwent surgery for his injuries and is expected to make a full recovery, said Speaker Pelosi's office in a statement.
Paul Pelosi, 82, is a businessman who operates an investment and financial consulting firm. He and Nancy Pelosi were married in 1963 and have five children, and own a home in San Francisco's Pacific Heights neighborhood.
The assailant reportedly targeted the Pelosi home; the attack was not random.
The intruder confronted Mr. Pelosi shouting, "Where is Nancy, where is Nancy?," according to a person briefed on the situation who spoke to the Associated Press.
Speaker Pelosi was in Washington, D.C., with her protective detail at the time of the overnight break-in, said the U.S. Capitol Police in a statement.
Police dispatch recordings posted online painted a chilling picture of the minutes leading up to the attack.
Back-and-forth radio chatter about the incident indicates that DePape may have claimed to be a friend of Speaker Pelosi's. One dispatcher said: “RP [Reporting Person Mr. Pelosi] stated that there’s a male in the home and that he’s going to wait for his wife. RP stated that he doesn’t know who the male is. Be advised that his name is David, and that he is a friend. RP sounded somewhat confused.”
Mr. Pelosi was severely beaten during the attack and suffered blunt force injuries to his head and body.
The San Francisco Fire Department transported Mr. Pelosi and his assailant to local hospital(s), said a spokesperson. Mr. Pelosi was admitted to San Francisco General Hospital and underwent "successful surgery to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands," said Speaker Pelosi's office in a statement on Friday afternoon.
His doctors expect a full recovery, the office said.
San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott held two briefings about the attack at police headquarters Friday. Scott identified the suspect as David DePape.
Police officers responded to a Priority A well-being check at the Pelosi residence and observed DePape and Mr. Pelosi both holding a single hammer through an open door. After officers gave a command to drop the hammer, the suspect pulled the hammer away and began violently assaulting Mr. Pelosi with it before he was tackled and taken into custody, Scott said.
DePape will be booked at San Francisco County Jail on charges of attempted homicide, assault with deadly weapon, burglary, elder abuse and several additional felonies, Scott said.
"Everybody should be disgusted by what happened this morning," said Scott at a briefing Friday afternoon.
The San Francisco Police Department's Special Investigations Division, U.S. Capitol Police, the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the San Francisco District Attorney's Office are jointly investigating the incident.
The FBI said that the investigation is at an early stage, with agencies working to determine the facts of what took place, including the motive behind the attack.
SF District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said that once the investigation is completed, her office will file charges and "seek to prosecute the suspect to the fullest extent of the law."
Jenkins said that her office believes there will be sufficient evidence to charge multiple felonies, including attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and other charges.
San Francisco government officials strongly condemned the attack on Friday as well wishes poured in from around the country.
"This was a horrific and scary incident. I have reached out to Speaker Pelosi to offer my support to her and her family," said Mayor London Breed in a statement. "The Police have the suspect in custody, and as we have more information to share, we will do so."
Residents of the Pacific Heights neighborhood where the Pelosi home is located were horrified by the attack.
“It’s just sad for him. Terrifying. Must have been a horrible experience,” said Carolyn Bell, who lives a few blocks from the Pelosi residence.
"It’s terrifying that we’re in that state where individuals are taking it upon themselves to carry out politically motivated attacks,” she added.
David DePape, 42, is a Berkeley resident.
DePape was associated with nudist activists who staged protests in the Castro District years ago, said state Sen. Scott Wiener.
Wiener said he recalled David DePape because of his close association with Gypsy Taub, a well-known nudist activist who was also involved with conspiracy theories.
"He was very associated with Gypsy Taub, who was one of the ringleaders [of the nudity protests] from 12 years ago," Wiener said. "Gypsy Taub was a conspiracy theorist. She was a 9/11 denier. So, it's not surprising to me to see this guy be a conspiracy theorist who now apparently has migrated far right."
On Friday, there was a sign posted on the door of what is believed to be Taub's residence or former residence on Woolsey Street in Berkeley reading, “(sic) no news reporrters go away.”
A neighbor who asked not be named told The Standard they had seen DePape outside the Berkeley residence as recently as two weeks ago. The neighbor said DePape was part of a “collective” that congregated at the house.
A WordPress blog bearing DePape’s name, called Welcome to Big Brothers Censorship hell, features screeds about censorship and a plot by the tech industry to "silence the people."
The blog author wrote posts as recently as August. Posts on the blog include one titled “Photoghrapic (sic) PROOF Alien-Human Hybrid Infiltrators”; another post is titled, “My favorite episode of Joe Rogan,” while another is called “The Big Lie.”
It's unclear whether DePape has a criminal record. A spokesperson for the San Francisco Public Defender's Office said that their office represented the suspect in in 2003 in a case involving a trespassing allegation, but that the charge was dropped.
DePape grew up in Powell River, British Columbia, and eventually migrated to California, CNN reported. He is reportedly estranged from his family.
“I really don’t know what to think,” the suspect’s uncle, Mark DePape, told the network.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
Annie Gaus can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org