Watch CBS News

Update: 'Where's Nancy?'; Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband 'violently assaulted' during home invasion

Brutal attack on Paul Pelosi dominates national attention
Brutal attack on Paul Pelosi dominates national attention 05:08

SAN FRANCISCO -- Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was assaulted by a suspect wielding a hammer early Friday during a home invasion of the couple's San Francisco residence.

According to the Associated Press, people familiar with the matter have told them the suspect specifically targeted the Pelosi home. 

A source briefed on the attack told CBS News the assailant who attacked Paul Pelosi was in search of the Speaker of the House. Before the assault occurred, the intruder confronted Mr. Pelosi shouting, "Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?"

San Francisco police chief Bill Scott identified the suspect as 42-year-old David Wayne DePape, a Berkeley resident.  

View of broken window at Pelosi home  KPIX

The assault was revealed in a statement from Drew Hammill, spokesman for Speaker Pelosi:

"Early this morning, an assailant broke into the Pelosi residence in San Francisco and violently assaulted Mr. Pelosi.  The assailant is in custody and the motivation for the attack is under investigation.  Mr. Pelosi was taken to the hospital, where he is receiving excellent medical care and is expected to make a full recovery.  The Speaker was not in San Francisco at the time."

Pelosi Husband Assaulted
FILE - Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and her husband, Paul Pelosi, arrive at the State Department for the Kennedy Center Honors State Department Dinner, Dec. 7, 2019, in Washington.  Kevin Wolf / AP

San Francisco police said officers responded to the 2600 block of Broadway for a report of a home break-in at approximately 2:27 a.m.

When San Francisco police officers arrived, Pelosi and DePape were wrestling over a hammer.

"When officers arrived on scene, they encountered an adult male and Mrs. Pelosi's husband, Paul," Scott told reporters. "Our officers observed Mr. Pelosi and the suspect both holding a hammer. The suspect pulled the hammer away from Mr. Pelosi and violently assaulted him with it."

"Our officers immediately tackled the suspect, disarmed him, took him into custody, requested emergency backup and rendered medical aid," he added.

Police investigate attack at Pelosi home
Police investigators work outside the home of Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in San Francisco, Friday, Oct. 28, 2022.  AP Photo/Eric Risberg

Pelosi suffered blunt force trauma to his head and body, according to two people with knowledge of the investigation into the attack who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity. He was being treated by doctors at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital for bruising, severe swelling and other injuries.

DePape was also transported to the hospital with undisclosed injuries.

"During this incident an 82-year-old male victim was attacked, and the suspect was taken into custody," the short SFPD release said. "The victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment." 

Agents from the United States Capitol Police and the FBI are now assisting in the investigation.

Raw video: Aerial view of damage at home of House Speaker Pelosi following violent home invasion 01:05

While not identifying the suspect, San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins called it a 'horrific attack' and would be dealt with quickly.

"This horrific attack will not go unanswered," she posted on social media. "The investigation is ongoing. As soon as it is complete, we will file charges and seek to prosecute the suspect to the fullest extent of the law."

Scott said DePape will be booked into jail on attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, burglary and other felony charges.

During an early evening press conference, chief Scott noted that DePape remained in the hospital. While he could not say anything about his medical condition, he assured reporters he would be booked on felony charges. 

Scott also noted that the incident was not a random break-in and assault.

SFPD chief Scott expresses disgust over hammer attack that hospitalized Paul Pelosi 07:52

"We also know, based on our investigation at this point, that this was not a random act. This was intentional. And it's wrong. Our elected officials are here to do the business of their cities, of their counties, of their states and this nation," a visibly upset Scott said. "Their families don't sign up for this to be harmed, and it is wrong. And everybody should be disgusted about what happened this morning." 

Scott also commended the dispatcher for her quick action when taking the 911 call that led to the rapid arrival of SFPD police units.

"She had to interpret what she was being told, and based on her experience and intuition, she basically figured out there was something more to this situation than what she was being told," said Scott. "Her actions, in my opinion, resulted in both a higher-priority dispatch and a faster police response."

"I think this was life-saving," Scott added.

The case is being jointly investigated by San Francisco police, the FBI, U.S. Capitol Police and federal and local prosecutors, Scott said.

As of 1 p.m., a San Francisco General Hospital source told KPIX that Paul Pelosi had undergone a medical procedure for his head wounds. He was hit several times in the head with the hammer, including one blow that was significant, the source said. Pelosi also remained conscious throughout the attack.

Hammill later confirmed Pelosi "underwent successful surgery to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands. His doctors expect a full recovery."    

"The Speaker and her family are thankful for the outpouring of support and prayers from friends, constituents and people around the country," the statement from Hammill concluded. "The Pelosi family is immensely grateful to Mr. Pelosi's entire medical team and the law enforcement officers who responded to the assault. The family appreciates respect for their privacy during this time.  

Pelosi arrived at the hospital sometime after 3:30 p.m. Friday afternoon, the source said. Secret Service are present at SF General.

Neighbors who live near the Pelosi home told KPIX they were not shocked at the violent incident.

"It's not surprising to me at all, given what's going on in our country right now," said neighbor Kris Grein. "It just scares me to think about things that could potentially happen on voting day, on November 8th."

Even after years of protests and vandalism at the home, neighbors said the attack is an unsettling shock.

"I definitely pass their house on occasion and I've seen various protest over time. But this was a little bit of surprise when my phone blew up this morning, saying that he was attacked by a hammer," Grein added.

"I mean, I think what happened is terrifying," said Elizabeth, another Pacific Heights neighbor. "That someone would break into a private home. It was clearly a targeted attack on Speaker Pelosi, from what I have read and heard, and the assailant was very much looking for her."  

Often at Nancy Pelosi's side during formal events in Washington, Paul Pelosi is a wealthy investor who largely remains on the West Coast. They have five adult children and many grandchildren. The two have been married 59 years.  

Pelosi just returned to Washington this week from a security conference in Europe and is due to keynote an advocacy event Saturday evening with Vice President Kamala Harris.

While the circumstances of the attack are unclear, the incident raises additional questions about the safety of members of Congress and their families as threats to lawmakers are at an all-time high almost two years after the violent Capitol insurrection.

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

In 2021, Capitol Police investigated around 9,600 threats made against members of Congress, and members have been violently attacked in recent years. Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was shot in the head at an event outside a Tucson grocery store in 2011, and Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., was severely injured when a gunman opened fire on a Republican congressional baseball team practice in 2017.  

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Biden had called Nancy Pelosi and was praying for the Pelosi family. 

Several lawmakers also took to social media to react to the assault.

Senator Chuck Grassley posted -- "I wish Mr Pelosi well & pray for a quick recovery Everyone deserves 2b respected & violence is never okay."

Meanwhile, Bay Area Congresswoman Jackie Speier posted -- "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."

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), expressed his concerns in a call with the Speaker.

"What happened to Paul Pelosi was a dastardly act," Schumer said. "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."

Governor Gavin Newsom's office issued a statement following the attack, saying it was "another example of the dangerous consequences of the divisive and hateful rhetoric putting lives at risk and undermining our very democracy and Democratic institutions."

San Francisco Mayor London Breed called the attack a "horrific and scary incident" and offered her support to Speaker Pelosi and her family. She also thanked the San Francisco police, fire and 911 dispatcher who responded to the emergency.

Earlier this year, Paul Pelosi pleaded guilty to misdemeanor driving under the influence charges related to a May crash in California's wine country and was sentenced to five days in jail and three years of probation.  

Wilson Walker contributed to this story.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.