Nancy Pelosi's husband attacked with hammer after assailant shouts 'where is Nancy?'

ITV News US correspondent Robert Moore reports an attack that's sent shockwaves through American politics

An intruder has attacked US Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer in the couple's home.

Paul Pelosi was attacked and severely beaten by an assailant who broke into the couple's San Francisco home early on Friday, police said.

The attacker was searching for the Democratic leader, shouting “Where is Nancy, where is Nancy?” before assaulting Mr Pelosi with a hammer, AP reports, citing a source familiar with the investigation.

The intruder confronted him - shouting for the speaker’s whereabouts - according to another person briefed on the situation.

Mr Pelosi was being treated by doctors for bruising, severe swelling and other injuries.

His spokesman Drew Hammill said he was expected to make a full recovery.

“The motive for this attack is still being determined,” San Francisco police chief William Scott said at a press briefing. The suspect was identified as David Depape, Scott said. He was in custody.

“Our officers observed Mr Pelosi and the suspect both holding a hammer,” Scott said. “The suspect pulled the hammer away from Mr Pelosi and violently assaulted him with it. Our officers immediately tackled the suspect, disarmed him, took him into custody, requested emergency backup and rendered medical aid.” Scott said 42-year-old Depape was being charged with attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse aand other charges.

“The Speaker and her family are grateful to the first responders and medical professionals involved, and request privacy at this time," Hammill said in a statement.

The attack raises questions about the safety of members of Congress and their families as threats to lawmakers are at an all-time high almost two years after the deadly Capitol insurrection.

Insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump breach the Capitol in Washington Credit: AP

The attack also comes just 11 days ahead of midterm elections in which crime and public safety have emerged as top concerns among Americans.

In 2021, Capitol Police investigated around 9,600 threats made against members of Congress, and members have been violently attacked in recent years.

Former Republican Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was shot in the head at an event outside a Tucson grocery store in 2011, and Republican Steve Scalise, R-La., was severely injured when a gunman opened fire on a Republican congressional baseball team practice in 2017.

Members of Congress have received additional dollars for security at their homes, but some have pushed for more protection as people have showed up at their homes and as members have received an increasing number of threatening communications.

Capitol Police, tasked with protecting congressional leaders, said Mrs Pelosi was with her protective detail in Washington at the time her husband was attacked.

She'd just returned this week from a security conference in Europe and is due to keynote an advocacy event Saturday evening with Vice President Kamala Harris.

Capitol Police said the FBI and San Francisco police were also investigating. The suspect is in the custody of the San Francisco police.

Often appaering at his wife's side during formal events in Washington, Mr Pelosi is a wealthy investor who largely remains on the West Coast.

They have five adult children and many grandchildren, and have been married for 59 years.

Earlier this year, Mr Pelosi pleaded guilty to misdemeanor driving under the influence charges related to a May crash in California’s wine country and was sentenced to five days in jail and three years of probation.

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