The Facts About the Attack on Paul Pelosi, According to Prosecutors
The attack has caused alarm about the threat of violence to elected officials, and has also become the focus of baseless conspiracy theories.
By The New York Times
Nov. 1, 2022https://www.nytimes.com/article/pelosi-paul-nancy-attack-facts.html
The attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has not only raised alarm about the threat of violence to elected officials and their families, but also become the focus of baseless conspiracy theories propagated by a litany of Republicans and conservatives.
After state and federal charges were filed against a suspect, the San Francisco district attorney, Brooke Jenkins, said that the widespread misinformation had made it all the more important for prosecutors to present the facts to the public.
Here is what we know about the Oct. 28 attack at the speaker’s San Francisco home, based on court documents and accounts provided by officials.
The attack began with a break-in.
An affidavit from an F.B.I. agent that accompanied the federal charges and a filing by local prosecutors have provided a chilling narrative of the break-in. They outline a groggy early-morning home invasion that culminated with a single, sudden hammer blow, delivered in the presence of shocked police officers.
The suspect, identified by the police as David DePape, slammed his body through a glass door and entered the residence around 2 a.m., awakening Mr. Pelosi, who was in bed, prosecutors said. The suspect told Mr. Pelosi that he wanted to talk to “Nancy” and learned she was not there. When Mr. DePape said he would sit and wait for Ms. Pelosi, her husband said that she would not return for several days.
Mr. Pelosi, sitting on his bed, asked why.
“Well, she’s No. 2 in line for the presidency, right?” the intruder said, according to the police. Soon after, he told Mr. Pelosi that “we’ve got to take them all out.”
He also told the police that he intended to take hostage and perhaps break the kneecaps of Ms. Pelosi, whom he saw as “the ‘leader of the pack’ of lies told by the Democratic Party.”
At one point, Mr. Pelosi tried to access an elevator, which has a phone, but was blocked from doing so, according to the local prosecutor. At some point after that, Mr. Pelosi ducked into a bathroom to call 911 from his cellphone.
The local court filing said that during the 911 call that prompted a dispatcher to send officers, Mr. Pelosi left the phone on speaker and, trying to keep the assailant calm, was able to gently imply to the dispatcher that something was amiss.
At one point, to defuse the situation, prosecutors wrote, Mr. Pelosi told the dispatcher that he didn’t need the police. When the dispatcher told him to call back if he changed his mind, he said, “No, no, no, this gentleman just, uh, came into the house, uh, and he wants to wait for my wife to come home.”
Officers with the San Francisco Police Department arrived about eight minutes after the call to find the two men struggling over a hammer.
When they asked what was going on, Mr. DePape “responded that everything was good,” the F.B.I. agent wrote. At that moment, Mr. DePape yanked the hammer from Mr. Pelosi’s grip and struck him once in the head, rendering him unconscious on the floor, where he lay in a pool of blood.
The officers quickly restrained Mr. DePape. When they examined the contents of his backpack, they found another hammer, tape, rope, two pairs of gloves — rubber and cloth — and a journal.
Mr. Pelosi, 82, who underwent surgery to repair a fractured skull and serious injuries to his hands and right arm, remained in the intensive care unit of a hospital on Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the situation.
The man accused of the attack told the police he had other targets.
The police said that without any questioning, Mr. DePape told them that he was on a suicide mission. He also mentioned that he had a list of other targets that included a local professor and several prominent state and federal politicians.