U.S. House Speaker Pelosi’s husband assaulted with hammer at home, motive unclear

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 28 (Reuters) – A hammer-wielding man was seen at the couple’s San Francisco home earlier on Friday by the husband of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, authorities said. He was attacked during the break-in, an attack that raised fears of political violence. Midterm elections on November 8.

Her husband, Paul Pelosi, 82, was taken to the 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 U.S. House of Representatives, the second in line to succeed the U.S. president, was in Washington with details of her protection at the time of the attack, according to Capitol Police.

Authorities said they were still investigating the motive for the early morning attack.

CNN, citing sources, said the attacker yelled “Where is Nancy?” before telling police before the attack that he was “waiting for Nancy” when they arrived at the scene.

It is unclear how the intruder got into the three-story red-brick townhouse in the affluent Pacific Heights neighborhood. Aerial photos showed broken glass on a door at the rear of the house. Streets around the home were closed Friday morning.

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The attack came less than two weeks before the midterm elections, in which control of the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate is at stake.

Scott said police were dispatched to the house at 2:27 a.m. PT (0927 GMT), where they encountered DePape and Paul Pelosi, both armed with a pair of The hammer, then DePape pulled the hammer away and attacked Pelosi.

Police disarmed DePape and arrested them, Scott said, and the two were taken to hospital for treatment.

He declined to answer questions and said police would provide more details later.

The Associated Press, citing two sources familiar with the investigation, said Paul Pelosi was being treated for bruises, severe swelling and other injuries after being severely beaten to the head and body.

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President Joe Biden called Pelosi to show his support, according to White House spokeswoman Karin Jean-Pierre.

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy also said he had been in touch with Pelosi, while Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said he was “shocked and disgusted” by the attack.

Capitol Police, which protects Congress, said it was cooperating with the FBI and San Francisco police on the investigation.

New York City police warned Thursday that extremists could target politicians, political events and polling places ahead of the midterm elections.

Republicans have been campaigning on violent crime, inflation and other quality of life issues. San Francisco’s crime rate in 2021 will be 1.5 times the national average, according to several crime-tracking sites.

The Democratic leader in Washington and a longtime representative of one of the most liberal cities in the United States, Pelosi, 82, has been a frequent target of Republican criticism and has frequently appeared in attack ads.

Her office was ransacked during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of Republican then-President Donald Trump, some of whom pursued her during the attack.

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According to media reports, in January 2021, her house was damaged, with graffiti “Cancel rent” and “We want everything” on the house, and a pig’s head was left in front of the garage.

McConnell’s home was also vandalized around that time.

Threats to Republican and Democratic lawmakers have been rising amid a climate of political polarization. Capitol Police said they investigated 9,625 incidents in 2021, a nearly three-fold increase from 2017.

A gunman enraged by Trump shot and wounded five Republican congressmen during a baseball practice in 2017, and Democrat Gabby Giffords was shot in the head during a public appearance in 2011.

Paul Pelosi, who owns a San Francisco-based real estate and venture capital firm, was convicted of a misdemeanor drink-driving charge in May after being involved in a car accident. He was sentenced to five days in prison 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

Our Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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