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SFPD Chief: Pelosi hammer attack came 'seconds' after police arrived

CBS SF Bay Area 10/31/2022 Da Lin

SAN FRANCISCO -- Authorities said Paul Pelosi secretly dialed 911 and left the phone line open so the dispatcher could hear what was going on without alarming the intruder.

At a San Francisco Chinatown event on Saturday, police chief Bill Scott said the dispatcher knew something was wrong and rushed officers over.

"It was minutes, less than three minutes, I believe," Chief Scott said. "And when the officers arrived, we're talking about seconds. From the time that door opened to the attack of Mr. Pelosi, we're talking seconds."

RELATED: Nancy Pelosi says family 'heartbroken and traumatized' after violent attack on husband

The chief said officers saw the intruder hitting Pelosi with a hammer and tackled him. It is unclear how long the intruder was inside before Pelosi was able to call 911.

The suspect, David DePape, reportedly searched the house for Speaker Nancy Pelosi allegedly shouting "where's Nancy? Where's Nancy?"

Police tape blocks a street outside the home of Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in San Francisco Oct. 28, 2022. Eric Risberg / AP © Provided by CBS SF Bay Area Police tape blocks a street outside the home of Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in San Francisco Oct. 28, 2022. Eric Risberg / AP

The district attorney plans to charge DePape with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and elder abuse among other charges.

"The suspect took a hammer and obviously assaulted Mr. Pelosi in his head very violently, which we believe was an attempt to kill him," said D.A. Brooke Jenkins.

"(Paul Pelosi) is surrounded by his family and loved ones. It's just a heartbreaking, scary situation," said Mayor London Breed. "It's just really important that we start looking at this differently so that something like this doesn't happen, especially as easily as it did."

The focus now is on prevention. Many people are shocked how one man can get into the Pelosi home so easily. Although she and her security team were out of town at the time, Nancy Pelosi is one of the most powerful political leaders in the country.

Capitol police are in charge of security. San Francisco police said they are assisting them and looking at how they can better protect local politicians.

"We're sitting ducks, we don't have security 24/7," said state senator Scott Wiener.

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