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Dispatcher's 'intuition' may have saved Paul Pelosi, San Francisco's police chief says

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her husband, Paul Pelosi, are seen here at the 23rd Annual Mark Twain Prize For American Humor at The Kennedy Center on April 24, 2022 in Washington, D.C.
Paul Morigi
Getty Images
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her husband, Paul Pelosi, are seen here at the 23rd Annual Mark Twain Prize For American Humor at The Kennedy Center on April 24, 2022 in Washington, D.C.

Updated October 28, 2022 at 12:36 PM ET

An intruder broke into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco home early Friday morning and "violently assaulted" her husband, Paul Pelosi, according to a statement from Drew Hammill, the speaker's spokesperson.

A source briefed on the attack tells NPR the assailant was searching for Speaker Pelosi, and confronted her husband, shouting, "Where is Nancy, where is Nancy?"

"Mr. Pelosi was taken to the hospital, where he is receiving excellent medical care and is expected to make a full recovery," the statement from Speaker Pelosi's office read.

The House Speaker, who is second in line to the presidency after the vice president, was not at home at the time of the break-in and attack.

The break-in at her residence raises questions about the security of the home of one of the most powerful lawmakers in the country.

The U.S. Capitol Police is assisting the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the San Francisco Police with a joint investigation into the break-in.

"Special agents with the USCP's California Field Office quickly arrived on scene, while a team of investigators from the Department's Threat Assessment Section was simultaneously dispatched from the East Coast to assist the FBI and the San Francisco Police with a joint investigation," a statement from the Capitol Police read.

According to the White House, President Biden called Pelosi Friday morning to offer his support after the attack.

"The President continues to condemn all violence, and asks that the family's desire for privacy be respected," according to a statement by White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

The attack comes as political figures and their families face an uptick in threats

Members of Congress have received more funds and resources to secure their homes but some have pressed for more protection given the rise in threats.

This summer, a man carrying a pistol outside the home of Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, was arrested.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., an outspoken critic of former President Donald Trump, shared voicemails left at his Capitol Hill office over the summer that threatened him and his family.

"We know where your family is and we're going to get you," said one caller.

In April, an Alaskan man was sentenced to 32 months in prison after leaving threatening voicemailsto both Republican senators from Alaska, Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan.

"I will find out all your properties and I will burn everything you hope to have, and I will burn everything you own," the man said in a message to Murkowski, asking whether the senator had seen what a ".50 caliber shell" does to a "human head."

In December, a New Hampshire man was sentenced to 33 months in prison for threatening to hang members of Congress who didn't support Trump.

Lawmakers react to the assault

Several lawmakers took to social media to offer their support to the Pelosi family.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., tweeted that he was "horrified and disgusted" by the attack and is "grateful to hear that Paul is on track to make a full recovery."

In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called the attack a "dastardly act" and said he spoke with Speaker Pelosi Friday morning to extend his "deepest concern and heartfelt wishes."

Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz called the attack "horrific" and added: We can have our political differences, but violence is always wrong & unacceptable."

This story will be updated.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Barbara Sprunt is a producer on NPR's Washington desk, where she reports and produces breaking news and feature political content. She formerly produced the NPR Politics Podcast and got her start in radio at as an intern on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered and Tell Me More with Michel Martin. She is an alumnus of the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship at the National Press Foundation. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania native.
Deirdre Walsh is the congress editor for NPR's Washington Desk.