SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 28 (Reuters) – A hammer-wielding man attacked the husband of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as he rested at the couple’s San Francisco home early on Friday, authorities said, in an attack that raised fears of earlier political violence. November 8th midterm elections.
Her husband, Paul Pelosi, 82, was taken to a hospital and is expected to make a full recovery, Pelosi’s office said.
The man arrested at the scene, David Depape, 42, will be charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and several other criminal charges, San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said.
The Democratic speaker of the US House of Representatives, who is second in line to the US presidency, was in Washington with his protective detail at the time of the attack, according to Capitol Police.
Authorities said they were still investigating the motive for the attack this morning.
CNN, citing sources, reported that the assailant shouted “Where’s Nancy?” before the attack and told the police he was “waiting for Nancy” when they arrived at the scene.
It’s unclear how the intruder got into the three-story red brick townhouse in the affluent Pacific Heights neighborhood. Aerial photos show broken glass in a door at the back of the home. The roads around the place were closed on Friday morning.
The attack comes less than two weeks before the midterm elections in which control of the US House and Senate is at stake.
Scott said police were dispatched to the home at 2:27 am Pacific time (0927 GMT), where they encountered Depape and Paul Pelosi both holding hammers, before Depape pulled the hammer away and attacked Pelosi.
Police disarmed and arrested Depape and took both men to the hospital for treatment, Scott said.
He refused to answer questions and said police would provide more details later.
Paul Pelosi was treated for bruising, severe swelling and other injuries after being severely beaten to the head and torso, the Associated Press reported, citing two sources with knowledge of the investigation.
President Joe Biden called Pelosi to express his support, according to White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy also said he had reached out to Pelosi, while Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said he was “horrified and disgusted” by the attack.
The Capitol Police, responsible for protecting Congress, said it was working with the FBI and San Francisco police on the investigation.
New York City police warned on Thursday that extremists may target politicians, political events and polling sites ahead of the midterm elections.
Republicans have been campaigning on concerns about violent crime, as well as inflation and other quality-of-life issues. San Francisco’s crime rate in 2021 is 1.5 times the national average, according to several crime-tracking websites.
As the Democratic leader in Washington and the longtime representative of one of America’s most liberal cities, Pelosi, 82, is a frequent target of Republican criticism and is often featured in attack ads.
His office was robbed during the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol by supporters of then-Republican President Donald Trump, some of whom chased him during the attack.
In January 2021, her home was vandalized with graffiti saying “Cancel the rent” and “We want everything” painted on the house and a pig’s head left in front of the garage, according to media reports.
McConnell’s home was also vandalized at the time.
In a climate of political polarization, threats against Republican and Democratic lawmakers have risen. Capitol Police said they investigated 9,625 incidents in 2021, nearly tripling from 2017.
A gunman angered by Trump shot and wounded five Republican members of Congress at a baseball practice in 2017, and Democrat Gabby Giffords was shot in the head during a public appearance in 2011.
Paul Pelosi, the owner of a real estate and venture capital firm based in San Francisco, was convicted of a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence of alcohol after being involved in a car accident in May. He was sentenced to five days in jail in Napa County, California.
Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien, Doina Chiacu, Rich McKay, Rami Ayyub, Tim Ahmann and Gram Slattery; Editing by Andy Sullivan, Jonathan Oatis and Alistair Bell
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