The suspect in the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul Pelosi said he wanted to hold the Speaker herself hostage and break her kneecaps, according to authorities.
On Monday, officials held a press conference revealing details of the altercation and, in a federal complaint said the suspect, David DePape, had zip ties, rope, and tape in a backpack. DePape, a 42-year-old male, allegedly broke into Pelosi’s San Francisco home early Friday, found Paul Pelosi sleeping upstairs, and insisted on speaking with “Nancy,” the Associated Press reported.
The complaint also claims that DePape viewed Speaker Pelosi as the “leader of the pack of lies told by the Democratic Party.”
“If she were to tell DePape the ‘truth,’ he would let her go and if she ‘lied,’ he was going to break her kneecaps,” the complaint notes. “By breaking Nancy’s kneecaps, she would then have to be wheeled into Congress, which would show other members of Congress there were consequences to actions,” it alleges DePape told authorities.
Heavy.com, a fact-finding website, highlighted a tweet from Mission Local journalist Joe Eskenazi that described DePape as a “former Castro nudist protester,” and a 2013 San Francisco Chronicle article noted that DePape was a “hemp jewelry maker.” CNN reported that he had made several posts on social media related to conspiracy theories.
An acquaintance also told CNN that DePape sent her emails that seemed “out of touch with reality,” while his ex-girlfriend said he suffered from mental illness and believed “he was Jesus for a year.”
DePape “is a broken child in an adult body with serious mental problems,” his ex-girlfriend told the San Francisco Chronicle. She also noted that DePape fervently agreed with her on a variety of leftist issues.
“I don’t think he became a Trump supporter. He was against the government, but if anything he was opposed to the shadow government, against the people who really run the government and use politicians as puppets. Like Trump was a puppet. David and I were against the shadow government,” she told the Chronicle.
DePape is reportedly in the U.S. illegally “as a ‘longtime’ visa overstay,” according to Fox News correspondent Bill Melugin.
NEW: Per ICE source, David DePape, the suspect accused of beating Paul Pelosi in his home with a hammer after breaking in, is currently in the U.S. illegally as a “longtime” visa overstay. @FoxNews
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) October 31, 2022
The FBI visited a house dubbed by neighbors as a “hippie collective,” but the alleged occupants of the house refused to talk to agents. A man who claimed to live at the house told NBC News that DePape hadn’t lived there for 10 years.
Paul Pelosi attempted to escape the situation by accessing an elevator that contained a phone, but DePape did not let him, according to San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins. Authorities say Pelosi then requested to go to the restroom and used his cell phone to call law enforcement. Once DePape understood that Pelosi had dialed 911, he took him to the front entry of the house, Jenkins said. When law enforcement arrived on the scene, DePape had a hammer in his hand and “violently struck him [Pelosi] at the top of his head,” according to Jenkins.
“This house and the speaker herself were specifically targets,” Jenkins said.
“Yes, it appears based on his statements and comments that were made in that house during his encounter with Mr. Pelosi that this was politically motivated,” Jenkins also said, adding that there was “an attempt to murder her husband at the time that the police arrived.”
She also pressed citizens to “watch the words that we say and to turn down the volume of our political rhetoric.”
“It’s very sad to see that we are once again at a point in history where people believe that it’s okay to express their political sentiments through violence,” she said. “I think it really demonstrates that we have to calm things down. We have to decide that we’re going to be more respectful as an American society, that it’s okay to disagree.”
Jenkins told the AP that investigators believe DePape had carried out research ahead of time to go after Pelosi. “This was not something that he did at the spur of the moment,” she said.
The Department of Justice filed federal kidnapping and assault charges against DePape. He was also charged by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office with attempted murder, elder abuse, and other offenses.