By Nathan Frandino and Steve Gorman
SANFRANCISCO -The person who clubbed U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband in the top with hammer, shouting “Where is Nancy?” after forcing his way into the couple’s San Francisco home, faced charges of attempted murder and other felonies a day later.
Police haven’t offered a motive for Friday’s assault on Paul Pelosi, 82, who in keeping with his wife’s office underwent surgery for a skull fracture and injuries to his hands and right arm, though doctors expect a full recovery.
President Joe Biden, chatting with reporters in Delaware on Saturday, said the attack appeared to have been “intended for Nancy.”
The incident stoked fears about political violence lower than two weeks ahead of midterm elections on Nov. 8 that may determine control of the House of Representatives and Senate, coming amid essentially the most vitriolic and polarized U.S. political climate in many years.
The 82-year-old House speaker herself, a Democrat who’s second within the constitutional line of succession to the U.S. presidency, was in Washington on the time of the assault.
She flew to San Francisco hours after the attack to be along with her husband, and released an announcement on Saturday expressing dismay that “a violent man broke into our family home, demanded to confront me and brutally attacked my husband Paul.”
“Our kids, our grandchildren and I are heartbroken and traumatized by the life-threatening attack on our Pop,” she said within the transient statement, addressed to her congressional colleagues.
“Please know that the outpouring of prayers and warm wishes from so many within the Congress is a comfort to our family and helps Paul make progress together with his recovery,” she wrote. “His condition continues to enhance.”
Earlier within the day, Paul Pelosi Jr., the couple’s son, was seen outside Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, where his father, an actual estate and enterprise capital executive, was being treated. Asked by a reporter for an update on his father, he replied: “To date, so good.”
Police identified the person arrested on the scene as David DePape, 42. He, too, was taken to a San Francisco hospital, but it surely was not made clear whether he was there for medical or psychiatric care or each.
Online sheriff’s records showed he was booked into custody on suspicion of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, battery, burglary, threatening a public official or member of the family, and other felonies. Formal charges shall be filed on Monday, and his arraignment is predicted on Tuesday, in keeping with the San Francisco district attorney’s office.
San Francisco Police Chief William Scott told a Friday night news briefing that police detectives, assisted by FBI agents, had yet to find out what precipitated the house invasion but said, “We all know this was not a random act.”
The intruder shouted, “Where is Nancy?” before attacking, in keeping with an individual briefed on the incident who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.
FROMHEMP TO HATE?
Within the seek for a motive, attention turned to the suspect’s apparent web profile.
In recent posts on several web sites, an online user named “daviddepape” expressed support for former President Donald Trump and embraced the cult-like conspiracy theory QAnon. The posts included references to “satanic pedophilia,” anti-Semitic tropes and criticism of ladies, transgender people and censorship by tech corporations.
Older messages promoted quartz crystals and hemp bracelets. Reuters couldn’t confirm the posts were created by the suspect arrested Friday.
Experts on extremism said the attack might be an example of a growing trend they call “stochastic terrorism,” through which sometimes-unstable individuals are inspired to violence by hate speech and scenarios they see online and listen to echoed by public figures.
“This was clearly a targeted attack. The aim was to locate and potentially harm the speaker of the House,” said John Cohen, a former head of intelligence on the Department of Homeland Security who’s working with U.S. law enforcement agencies on the difficulty.
The San Francisco Chronicle posted a photograph of a person it identified as DePape dancing on the 2013 wedding of two nudist activists in San Francisco, though he was clothed. DePape, then a hemp jewelry maker who listed himself as a member of the left-leaning Green Party, lived with the couple in Berkeley and was best man at their wedding, the newspaper reported. It said he grew up in Canada.
Scott said the intruder forced his way into the Pelosis’ three-story townhouse through a rear door. Aerial photos showed shattered glass behind the home in town’s affluent Pacific Heights neighborhood.
The chief said police were dispatched for a wellbeing check on the premise of a cryptic emergency-911 call from the residence. Other news outlets reported the decision was placed by Paul Pelosi.
Scott credited the 911 operator with discerning that “there was more to this incident than what she was being told” by the caller, thus dispatching the decision at a better priority than normal. Scott called her decision “life-saving.”
Based on Scott, police arriving on the front door glimpsed DePape and Pelosi struggling over a hammer. Because the officers yelled at each men to drop the tool, DePape yanked the hammer away and was seen striking Pelosi no less than once, the chief said. The officers then tackled, disarmed and arrested DePape, Scott said.
The incident got here a day after Recent York City police warned that extremists could goal politicians, political events and polling sites ahead of elections.
The U.S. Capitol Police, which reported 9,625 threats against lawmakers of each parties in 2021, up nearly threefold from 2017, urged congressional offices in a memo on Saturday to take extra security precautions given the heightened risks they face.
As a Democratic leader in Washington and longtime representative from certainly one of America’s most liberal cities, Nancy Pelosi is a frequent goal of Republican criticism.
Her office was ransacked in the course of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters, a few of whom hunted for her in the course of the assault.