House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s elderly husband made a desperate 911 call early Friday from a bathroom in their multimillion-dollar San Francisco mansion, likely saving him from the deranged man who beat him with a hammer, authorities said.
Suspect David DePape, 42, had broken into the home in the wee hours of Friday morning, demanding to see the powerful lawmaker, who was out of town, according to police. Paul Pelosi, 82, told the intruder he had to use the bathroom, where he made the emergency call, speaking in “code” to a quick-thinking dispatcher.
“When you have an experienced dispatcher with good instincts, they learn how to read between the lines,” San Francisco Police Chief William Scott told reporters.
**NEW**: Police audio of SFPD's 'welfare check' call about Paul Pelosi says that he called "David" a "friend" who seemed "confused."
Context: This was a Berkeley nudist in his underwear struggling with another man in his underwear over a hammer at 2:30 am in San Francisco #fwiw pic.twitter.com/n7nplNMxOA
— Kyle Becker (@kylenabecker) October 29, 2022
Pelosi left the call open while he confronted the suspect, Scott said. The dispatcher was able to tell something was amiss without Pelosi alarming the suspect, according to police.
“What’s going on? Why are you here? What are you doing to me?” Pelosi said while the dispatcher listened in.
The media are portraying the suspect in the attack on Nancy Pelosi's husband as a man fundamentally driven by right-wing ideology. But it's obvious to anyone who looks that what drove David DePape to violence was drug-induced paranoid psychosis.https://t.co/qfs5zHokni
— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) October 29, 2022
“She knew something more was going on, just in her heart and her intuition, just with her experience,” Scott said. “And that calls for a higher priority than this type of call normally receives. This was a well-being check. And she just knew there was more to it. So, she alerted our officers, she went that extra step … and that led to a quicker response.”
When police arrived at the power couple’s posh Pacific Heights town home, they witnessed the two men struggling for control of a hammer, which the suspect grabbed and used to beat his victim over the head and body. Paul Pelosi underwent surgery Friday for a fractured skull and other injuries, but is expected to recover.
DePape has been described as a troubled Canadian-born transient and nudist with extreme political views, and a woman who describes herself as his daughter said Friday he molested her and her brothers when they were children.
Inti Gonzalez, who said her mother met DePape when she was pregnant with her and then began a long relationship with him, wrote in a blogpost that DePape molested her and her brothers, who she said were DePape’s biological sons, the Daily Mail reported. In the post, which has since been taken down, Gonzalez referred to DePape as her “father” and said she still loves him. But she said he is a dangerous lunatic.
“This attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband came as a shock to me, though not much considering the kind of extreme abuse he had inflicted on me and my brothers,” Gonzalez wrote, adding that her mother threw DePape out of the home when she found out about the abuse. “I didn’t see this coming and there was no sign of the possibility from his end.
“I love my father, she continued in the blogpost. “He did genuinely try to be a good person but the monster in him was always too strong for him to be safe to be around.”
The U.S. Capitol Police, FBI and San Francisco Police Department are conducting a joint investigation into the attack, according to the Capitol Police. DePape has so far been charged with attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, burglary, and several other additional felonies.