Sometime around 2 a.m. on Friday, A private security guard noticed a man dressed all in black walking with a backpack near the home of Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco.
Authorities say the man was David DePape and the bag contained zip ties, a rope and a hammer.
His goal, federal prosecutors claim, was to kidnap and torture the speaker of the House of Representatives, and then possibly move on to other high-profile targets.
What he didn’t know was that Nancy Pelosi wasn’t home that morning and the only person in the house was her husband Paul Pelosi.
But the spokeswoman’s absence — along with that of her security detail — made her large Pacific Heights home a much easier target.
It has also raised new questions about security measures for top officials at a time of rising political divisions and mounting threats.
With Nancy Pelosi gone, the US Capitol Police forceful security detail typical of the home was downgraded significantly. Pelosi’s security team is traveling with her, and she was in Washington at the time.
According to a law enforcement source, Capitol Police have a video feed from cameras at their San Francisco home that recorded the burglary. The source said that because Pelosi was not at the residence, the video feed was not being monitored and officers only realized there was a problem when they saw police car lights in the apartment.
It’s unclear if there was a requirement to monitor the cameras at the San Francisco home in Nancy Pelosis’s absence. Details of the Capitol Police record were first reported by the Washington Post.
According to prosecutors, DePape smashed the glass patio door of the Pelosis’ home around 2 a.m. Friday.
The unidentified security guard told police he saw a man dressed all in black walking with a backpack just before he heard a loud banging, according to a federal affidavit against DePape. A law enforcement source said San Francisco police regularly patrol the area but don’t have a permanent station indoors.
It’s unclear if an alarm was set off in the home, but officials said DePape managed to get to the second floor after the break-in.
There he found Paul Pelosi, 82, asleep, repeatedly shouting, “Where’s Nancy?” officials said.
Realizing the potential danger, Pelosi managed to make a quick, covert call to 911 and left the line open, authorities said. A 911 dispatcher realized something was seriously wrong and immediately dispatched police to the address. Officers were told there was a man named David in the home, whom Pelosi did not know.
When an officer came to Pelosi’s door and asked, “What’s going on here?” DePape and Pelosi were wrestling with a gavel, authorities said. DePape then “snatched it from Pelosi, stepped back and lunged at Mr. Pelosi,” hitting him in the head with “full force with a hammer” and knocking him unconscious, according to court documents trying to deny DePape bail .
Officers disarmed DePape while Pelosi lay in a pool of blood for three minutes before regaining consciousness, according to the request.
DePape told an officer at the scene that “he acted alone,” the filing reads.
DePape later revealed to San Francisco police that he planned to kidnap Nancy Pelosi and fracture her kneecaps, calling her the “leader of the pack” of lies spread by the Democratic Party, authorities said.
During the course of his police interview, DePape told investigators “that if she fractures Nancy’s kneecaps, she would have to be wheeled into Congress, which would show other members of Congress that actions have consequences.”
“I came here to have a little chat with his wife,” DePape added, referring to Paul Pelosi, according to court filings released Tuesday. “I didn’t really mean to hurt him, but you know, that was a suicide squad.”
Prosecutors allege DePape had other targets in mind — including a Bay Area professor and prominent state and federal politicians and their families — when he broke into the Pelosis’ home. He planned to wait for the speaker’s return, the documents say.
The Pelosi attack has further increased concerns about attacks on political figures following the Jan. 6 riot in the US Capitol.
According to Capitol Police, there were 9,625 threats against members of Congress and their families last year — more than double the number in 2017. A joint project by the Anti-Defamation League and Princeton University tracked 400 incidents of local election-, Health and education officials in 43 states from January 2020 to mid-September this year.
Capitol Police said the agency launched a security review following the Pelosi incident.
“We believe today’s political climate calls for more resources to provide additional physical security for members of Congress,” Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said in a statement. “This plan would include a focus on adding layoffs to the measures already in place for congressional leadership. Hopefully you will understand that we cannot disclose the details of these improvements because our country cannot afford to make it easier for potential bad actors.
“During this time of heightened political tensions, we continue to monitor thousands of cases across the country to stop potential threats before they make headlines,” he added.
On Monday, the Justice Department filed federal assault and kidnapping charges against DePape and San Francisco Dist. atty Brooke Jenkins charged DePape with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, among other charges.
The police did not give a motive for the attack. But Jenkins said Monday that it was “politically motivated” based on DePape’s statements and comments to Pelosi.
“It is very sad to see that we are once again at a point in history where people believe it is okay to express their political feelings through violence,” she said. “It shows that we need to calm things down. We have to decide that as an American society, we’re going to be more respectful.”
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-11-02/attacker-evaded-cameras-security-to-get-inside-nancy-pelosis-home Pelosi attacker evaded cameras, security to get inside home