Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, underwent surgery to repair a fractured skull after he was beaten with a hammer at his San Francisco home on Friday. Law enforcement sources told CBS News that the attacker yelled, “Where’s Nancy?” and planned to detain Paul Pelosi until she returned home.

Police would not comment on a motive, but said it was “not a random act” but targeted and “wrong”.

With the intruder inside the home, police say Paul Pelosi was able to make an open call to 911 around 2 a.m. Friday. According to federal sources, the dispatcher heard what sounded like someone making threats in the background and sent a high-priority alert to law enforcement.

The dispatcher’s actions “in my opinion led to both a higher priority dispatch and a faster police response,” San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said Friday. “I think it saved a life.”

When police arrived, they found signs of forced entry, including broken glass.

“Our officers observed Mr. Pelosi and the suspect holding a hammer,” Scott said. “The suspect pulled the hammer away from Mr. Pelosi and violently assaulted him.”

Pelosi's husband was attacked
Police tape blocks a street outside the home of Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in San Francisco on October 28, 2022.

Eric Risberg/AP

The suspect, 42-year-old David Wayne DePape, was immediately taken into custody by police. He will be charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, burglary and a number of other crimes, authorities said.

A CBS News review of DePape’s alleged social media posts shows him spreading conspiracy theories about Holocaust denial, pedophiles in government and allegations that Democrats run child sex rings.

Nancy Pelosi, who was in Washington, D.C., at the time of the attack, rushed Paul to a San Francisco hospital, where Paul “underwent successful surgery for a fractured skull and serious injuries to his right hand and hand,” Nancy’s office said. He is expected to make a full recovery.

But the hack raises concerns about the safety of members of Congress and their families. The Capitol Police are responsible for the security of Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress. Law enforcement agencies told CBS News they don’t have the resources — and it’s not standard protocol for them — to protect the lawmakers’ families around the clock.

President Biden condemned the attack during a campaign rally Friday night in Philadelphia, saying, “Every good person with a clear conscience must speak out clearly and unequivocally against violence.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote that he was “appalled and disgusted” by reports of the incident. And Texas Republican Ted Cruz, a longtime critic of Pelosi, tweeted: “We may have political differences, but violence is always wrong and unacceptable.”

But on Friday, just days before the midterm elections, the Department of Homeland Security issued a new bulletin warning of an “elevated threat” to “candidates running for public office, elected officials” and “election workers.” It said some violent extremists may be motivated by “differing perceptions of issues such as government overreach, gun regulation and immigration policy” — issues that have been in focus in the run-up to the midterm elections.