San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said Saturday that Paul Pelosi was able to call 911 to authorities after meeting his attacker in an upstairs area of the family home, prompting the dispatcher to quickly deploy officers to help House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband.
Jenkins, whose office is expected to file formal charges next week against David DePape in connection with the violent assault, did not reveal what Pelosi said, but the prosecutor said the nature of the call compelled the dispatcher to attach immediate importance to it, which resulted in a quick response to Friday morning’s break-in.
“I truly believe his action very well could have saved his life,” Jenkins told USA TODAY.
After:Who is David DePape? What we know about the suspect who attacked Paul Pelosi
After:Nancy Pelosi’s husband suffers a fractured skull after a stroke; suspect charged with attempted murder
San Francisco Police Chief William Scott also highlighted the dispatcher’s handling of the call, which resulted in responding officers meeting with the suspect and Pelosi, both holding a hammer.
Scott said Friday the suspect took the hammer away from Pelosi and punched him before officers tackled DePape, disarmed him and took him into custody.
Pelosi suffered a fractured skull and other injuries and was being treated at a local hospital. A spokesperson for Speaker Pelosi released a statement late Friday saying that Paul Pelosi underwent “successful surgery” to repair the fractured skull and suffered serious injuries to his right arm and hands.
“His doctors expect a full recovery,” according to Friday’s statement.
The president was not at the family residence at the time of the break-in, although the assailant reportedly targeted the longtime Democratic lawmaker. In Friday’s statement, Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said “the attacker … threatened his (Paul Pelosi’s) life while demanding to see the President.”
During the incident, the suspect also allegedly shouted, “Where’s Nancy?” a person familiar with the matter told USA TODAY.
Jenkins declined to comment on any statements made during the incident, except to say the incident was “not random.”
“One thing we can clarify,” the district attorney said Saturday, “this was an intentional and targeted event.”
Still, Jenkins said the suspect’s motive is still under investigation.
DePape was convicted on multiple counts, including attempted murder; burglary of a residence; assault with a deadly weapon; threatening a family member of a public official; dissuade a witness from reporting a crime; elder abuse; battery with serious bodily injury; and damage a wireless device.
The episode comes in an unstable political climate and happened just over a week before the midterm elections.
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“It was a very disturbing and scary event for all of us,” said Jenkins, who is also in the midst of a campaign to keep the job after being nominated earlier this year.
The attack on Pelosi comes as authorities closely monitor a wave of threats against officials.
On the day of Pelosi’s assault, federal authorities issued the government’s strongest warning yet of the “increased threat” to the midterm elections posed by violent extremists.
“The most plausible DVE (Domestic Violent Extremist) threat is posed by lone offenders who take advantage of election-related issues to justify violence,” according to the five-page bulletin released by the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI , the National Counterterrorism Center and the United States Capitol Police. . “Ongoing perceptions of voter fraud related to the 2020 general election continue to contribute to the radicalization of some DVEs, and would likely increase their sensitivity to any new claims perceived to reaffirm their belief that US elections are corrupt.”
While law enforcement officials were still investigating the motive for Pelosi’s attack, the multi-agency response involving the FBI and Capitol police, as well as local authorities in San Francisco, underscored the deep concern civil servants – and their families – in an increasingly unstable political situation. environment.
“We believe that perceptions of election-related fraud and DVE reactions to divisive topics will likely drive sporadic plots of DVE violence and broader efforts to justify violence before and after the 2022 midterm election cycle” , says the bulletin. “Some DVEs continue to amplify narratives related to the perception of fraud in the 2020 general election and varied perceptions of divisive midterm issues to justify calls for violence.”
Possible targets of this violence, the document says, include “candidates for public office, elected officials, election workers, political rallies, political party representatives, racial and religious minorities, or perceived ideological opponents.”