What to know about the attack
- San Francisco police identified the suspect in the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband, Paul Pelosi, at their California home with a hammer as David DePape, 42.
- DePape will be charged with attempted homicide, among other charges, police said.
- The suspect was searching for the House speaker, two sources told NBC News. Police have said a motive is still being determined.
- U.S. Capitol Police said that the House speaker was in Washington, D.C., with her protective detail at the time of the break-in.
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Suspect's daughter says attack 'came as a shock'
Inti Gonzalez, 21, identified herself in a phone call Friday as DePape’s daughter. She said she wrote in a blog post that her mother kicked DePape out when she was 13 because of alleged “toxic” behavior.
Gonzalez wrote that she and DePape remained estranged until a few months ago when she reached out to see how he was doing.
“This attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband came as a shock to me,” she wrote. “I didn’t see this coming.”
She said that she had read his website but did not agree with all of his views.
“It made me happy to see that he had strong opinions about important issues that our world is facing today,” Gonzalez wrote. “He wanted to make a difference.”
A motive in Friday’s attack remains unclear, and DePape had expressed sometimes conflicting political opinions.
Suspect 'was attempting to kill' Pelosi, district attorney says
San Francisco’s district attorney said they expect to file attempted murder and other charges against a man accused of attacking Paul Pelosi with a hammer at his home Friday.
"Any time you strike someone in the head, in the fashion that Mr. Pelosi was hit — it is clear to us that he was attempting to kill him,” District Attorney Brooke Jenkins told NBC Bay Area on Friday evening.
She told the station her office expects to file charges of attempted murder, residential burglary, elder abuse, and assault with a deadly weapon.
The suspect, David DePape, 42, is accused of breaking into the Pelosi home and striking Pelosi, the husband of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, at least once with a hammer.
Paul Pelosi, 82, underwent surgery for a skull fracture and is recovering, a spokesman for Nancy Pelosi has said.
San Francisco Police Chief BIll Scott said the attack was intentional and not a random act. A motive in the assault has not been released.
DePape was in a hospital Friday but will be booked one way or the other, either in person or in absentia, Scott said.
Chairman of House Jan. 6 committee suggests Pelosi attack is a 'symptom' of domestic terrorism
Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, called the attack on Paul Pelosi "abhorrent" and urged his Congressional colleagues to reject "divisive" conspiracy theories that he said have fueled violence.
“Unfortunately, the attack against Paul Pelosi appears to be a symptom of a much larger problem within our democracy," said Thompson, D-Miss., said. "In recent years, we have seen a rise in domestic terrorism fueled in part by violent, racist, antisemitic, anti-democratic rhetoric."
Thompson cited the deadly 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., and the Capitol riot as examples of how armed attackers have used violence to impose their views. "So-called vigilantes have been intimidating voters at ballot drop-boxes and harassing local election officials. America is better than this," Thompson added.
“I call on my colleagues in Congress and elected officials across the nation to put country over party and reject the conspiracy theories that are proving so divisive, despite any perceived political advantage," Thompson said.
Thompson, who also chairs the House committee on homeland security, called on federal agencies and law enforcement to reinforce efforts to protect officials and elections as the midterms approach.
Police chief: Dispatcher’s actions were ‘life-saving’
The police dispatcher who took the 911 call about Friday’s home invasion and attack on Paul Pelosi may have saved his life, San Francisco’s police chief said.
Chief Bill Scott praised the dispatcher for "her intuition, her quick thinking” in handling the call about Friday's early break-in and assault at the Pelosi home.
"She had to interpret what she was being told. And based on her experience and her intuition, she basically figured out that there was something more to this incident than what she was being told,” Scott said.
“Her actions, in my opinion, resulted in both a higher priority dispatch and a faster police response,” he said. “I think this was life-saving.”
Paul Pelosi, 82, the husband of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was struck with a hammer at least once in the home invasion at their San Francisco home, police said.
Nancy Pelosi was in Washington, D.C., at the time. Paul Pelosi underwent surgery for a skull fracture and is expected to make a full recovery, Nancy Pelosi’s spokesman said.
‘This was not a random act’: Attack on Paul Pelosi was intentional, police say
The attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was not random, San Francisco’s police chief said.
“This was intentional. And it’s wrong,” Police Chief Bill Scott said.
The suspect in Friday morning’s attack at the Pelosi home, David DePape, 42, remained at a hospital Friday evening, but Scott would not disclose his medical information.
"Our elected officials are here to do the business of their cities, their counties, their states, and this nation. Their families don’t sign up for this, to be harmed,” Scott said. “And it is wrong. And everybody should be disgusted about what happened this morning.”
Paul Pelosi, 82, was struck in the head at least once with a hammer. He underwent surgery and is recovering, a spokesman for Nancy Pelosi said.
Biden draws parallel between Pelosi attack and Capitol riot
President Joe Biden began his remarks at an event for Pennsylvania Democrats on Friday evening by sharply condemning the attack on Paul Pelosi and drawing parallels between the attack on the House speaker's husband and the Capitol riot.
"Before I begin, I want us to take a short pause, to send our love to Nancy and Paul Pelosi," Biden said, adding that he had spoken to the speaker earlier and she reported that her husband was in "good spirits."
Biden went on to address reports that the assailant had repeated the "same chant" heard during the Jan. 6 riot.
"The chant was: 'Where's Nancy?'" Biden said, calling it "despicable."
"There's too much violence, political violence," the president added, suggesting that election denialism and claims that Covid-19 was a "hoax," had eroded the political climate.
"Every person of good conscience needs to clearly and unambiguously stand up against the violence in our politics, regardless of what your politics are," he added.
Website linked to suspect covers range of conspiracy theories
David DePape, 42, appeared to operate a website on which he wrote a wide variety of posts touching on almost all manner of modern conspiracy thinking: aliens, Jewish people, communism, vaccines, voter fraud and many other topics.
Many of the posts were published in the last few months.
The website, which was registered under “david depape” and to a ZIP code in the Bay Area, according to registration records, did not mention Nancy Pelosi.
Multiple senior law enforcement officials briefed on the investigation into Friday's attack on Paul Pelosi said it is too soon to say what the motive may have been.
Two law enforcement officials said an early look at DePape’s online footprint showed recent blog posts that espoused ideas typically associated with far-right extremism along with some liberal anti-establishment ideas.
VP says she spoke with Pelosi after 'act of extreme violence'
Vice President Kamala Harris told reporters in Philadelphia that she spoke with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday morning.
"This was an act of extreme violence," Harris said following a get-out-the-vote event. "I pray for Paul’s recovery. I know the Pelosis, and this is tragic."
Harris also highlighted the importance of speaking out against hate.
"We have to speak out against violence obviously, and speak to our better selves," she said.
While she acknowledged the value of public discourse about disagreements on policy, she called recent events "beneath the dignity and the intelligence of the American people."
Speaker's office: Paul Pelosi's surgery to repair a skull fracture 'successful'
After being attacked Friday, "Mr. Pelosi was admitted to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital where he underwent successful surgery to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands," Drew Hammill, spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said in a new statement. "His doctors expect a full recovery."
Hammill added that the speaker "and her family are thankful for the outpouring of support and prayers from friends, constituents and people around the country."
Early look at suspect’s background shows ‘mixed ideology,’ sources say
Multiple senior law enforcement officials briefed on the investigation into the attack at Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s house say it is too soon to say what a motive may have been for David DePape, the suspect.
Those officials say the focus of the investigation is to thoroughly review online posts which may or may not be attributable to DePape and to see if there are any social media accounts that also belong to him. They also say they expect both the FBI and San Francisco Police Department to take the next few days to speak with any of his associates or family members to try to derive a potential motive after, as NBC News has previously reported, the attacker specifically referenced Nancy Pelosi during the incident.
Two law enforcement officials say an early dive into his background and public-facing social media and blogs show a “mixed ideology” taking aspects of liberal anti-establishment ideas sometimes shared in the Bay Area to more recent posts that espouse ideas typically associated with far-right extremism.
Two law enforcement officials say there were cameras at the Pelosi home but the officials were not briefed on what those cameras specifically reveal or don’t reveal about the incident.
Rep. Khanna: 'I don't think anyone' in public life is 'completely safe'
Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., decried the attack on Paul Pelosi, and said the current political atmosphere is dangerous for public servants and their families.
Khanna, a member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee and the deputy whip of the Progressive Caucus, told MSNBC's Katy Tur that “it’s just so appalling that we’ve come to this state in our democracy, that Paul Pelosi can’t be safe in his own home.”
Asked if he feels safe, Khanna said, “I don’t think anyone in public life today is completely safe. I would say though, that there are other colleagues of mine, particularly women, women of color, who are bigger targets. And we have to really understand that words have consequences in political debate.”
“Everyone is at risk who is serving and it’s in everyone’s interest, not just the right thing to do, but in everyone’s interests, everyone’s family’s interests, to tamp down the rhetoric,” he added.
Khanna said there will likely be an assessment if there's a need for increased security for congressional leadership, but “beyond that, we all need to recognize the consequences of words that we utter on social media or in the public domain and what we’re doing in the atmosphere we’re creating in this country.”
Va. governor, reacting to the attack on Pelosi’s husband, tells GOP voters 'we're going to send her back to be with him'
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, brought up the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband during a campaign event.
Youngkin, speaking at a rally Friday for GOP congressional candidate Yesli Vega, said voters were fed up with Democratic leaders and then briefly mentioned the violent assault.
"Speaker Pelosi's husband — they had a break-in last night in their house, and he was assaulted. There's no reason for violence anywhere, but we're going to send her back to be with him in California," Youngkin said, according to a reporter for The Associated Press, as well as a video clip posted on social media.
Rep. Donald McEachin, D-Va., criticized the remark on Twitter.
"This is a disgusting, vile, and crass comment by Governor Youngkin," he tweeted, adding, "This reprehensible behavior is beneath the dignity of his office."
Asked to clarify what Youngkin meant by his comments, spokesperson Kristin Davison told NBC News: “As the governor clearly said, the assault on Paul Pelosi was wrong and there is no place for violence. He wishes him a full recovery and is keeping the Pelosi family in his prayers.”
-Liz Brown-Kaiser contributed
In a separate incident, man pleads guilty to threatening Rep. Eric Swalwell
In a separate incident in August, Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., said a man called his office, repeating homophobic slurs and threatening to shoot and kill the congressman.
Swalwell, who has previously tweeted about threats to his office, wrote: “Bloodshed is coming.”
The man, Joshua Hall, pleaded guilty Friday to making threats to kill a member of Congress. In court testimony, Hall said he was drunk when he made the threat. He had previously pleaded guilty to fraud for impersonating relatives of Donald Trump in a scheme to steal thousands of dollars from Trump supporters.
Police block off area around Pelosi home
SAN FRANCISCO — Law enforcement had the area around the Pelosi home blocked off with yellow tape Friday morning and at least a dozen police vehicles.
Agents wearing FBI jackets and local police uniforms crisscrossed the broad street in front of the home, which sits near the top of a hill in the wealthy Pacific Heights neighborhood.
Traffic was slightly disrupted as people in Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Toyota Prius vehicles crept past the police tape to get a look, and a helicopter circled overhead.
Police identify Paul Pelosi's attacker as David DePape
Police identified the man who assaulted Paul Pelosi as David DePape, 42.
He's being hit with numerous charges, including attempted homicide and elder abuse. The motive is "still being determined," San Francisco Police Chief William Scott told reporters in a brief news conference.
Scott said Paul Pelosi and the suspect were both holding a hammer when police arrived at the home shortly before 2:30 a.m. PT. "The suspect pulled the hammer away from Pelosi and violently assaulted him with it" before officers tackled him, Scott said.
Attack puts spotlight on U.S. Capitol security threats
The violent assault on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband could draw greater attention to security threats on Capitol Hill.
Paul Pelosi was attacked at their home in California, authorities said. But according to statistics from the U.S. Capitol Police in June, security threats are rising against members of Congress.
The USCP Threat Assessment Team saw a 144% increase in new cases between 2017 to 2021 — from 3,939 in 2017 to 9,625 in 2021. The first three months of this year saw roughly 1,820 cases opened by that team.
NBC News has requested updated statistics.
Biden 'praying' for Paul Pelosi, White House says
The White House said Friday that President Joe Biden spoke with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi following the attack on her husband.
"This morning he called Speaker Pelosi to express his support after this horrible attack. He is also very glad that a full recovery is expected," the White House said in a statement. It added that Biden is "praying for Paul Pelosi and for Speaker Pelosi’s whole family."
"The President continues to condemn all violence, and asks that the family’s desire for privacy be respected," it said.
Senate leaders decry the violence
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., condemned the assault on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband.
Schumer, one of the House speaker's closest working partners in Washington, blasted the attack on Paul Pelosi as a "dastardly act" and said he expressed his "deepest concern and heartfelt wishes" to the Pelosi family Friday morning.
McConnell tweeted that he was "horrified and disgusted" by the news. He added that he was "grateful to hear" Paul Pelosi was expected to make a full recovery, "and that law enforcement including our stellar Capitol Police are on the case."
San Francisco police to hold news conference soon
San Francisco's chief of police, William Scott, is expected to address the media soon on the attack, according to police.
Pelosi's husband attacked by someone searching for her: sources
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, was hospitalized Friday after a home intruder “violently assaulted” him with a hammer, according to the Democratic leader’s office and two sources briefed on the incident.
But the suspect was really searching for the House speaker, who was not there at the time, two sources told NBC News.
According to the sources, the intruder confronted Paul Pelosi and shouted: “Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?” — an echo of the chants that rang through the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, when rioters attempted to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory.
Paul Pelosi was severely beaten but he is expected to make a full recovery, a spokesman for the California Democrat said.