David Wayne DePape attacks Nancy Pelosi husband, Paul at the couple’s San Francisco home. Intruder bears history of far right views. No known motive.
The California man who allegedly broke into Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco home and bludgeoned her husband Paul with a hammer appeared to ascribe to a litany of far-right conspiracy theories online, including Holocaust denial, election fraud, and Pizzagate.
The attack led to Paul Pelosi suffering blunt-force trauma injuries to his head and body, and undergoing brain surgery, with reports saying the multi-millionaire businessman and 53 year husband of the Democratic House Speaker expected to make a full recovery.
DePape, 42, was also transported to hospital with undisclosed injuries following the attack.
Prior to the assault, the intruder confronted Paul Pelosi shouting, ‘Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?’
Far right ideologue
David DePape according to preliminary reports was obsessed with Jan 6, election conspiracies, religious tones along with being known for embracing multiple conspiracy theories on subjects such as voter fraud, climate change, and the COVID pandemic on different online forums. DePape had also previously posted antisemitic screeds and videos from ‘My Pillow” founder, and outspoken Donald Trump supporter, Mike Lindell.
DePape posts frequently fixate on the subject of government or tech company censorship. One blog has subject tabs with such labels as ‘Pedophile normalization,’ ‘Creationism,’ and ‘Facts are Racist.’
Another website listed categories such as ‘Climate Hysteria,’ ‘Da Jewbs,’ and ‘Groomer Schools.’
According to CNN, DePape also posted memes and conspiracy theories on Facebook about COVID vaccines, the 2020 election and the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol. Two of DePape’s relatives told CNN that he was ‘out of touch with reality,’ estranged from his family, and confirmed that the Facebook account – which was taken down by the social media company on Friday – belonged to him. Initial reports also described DePape as selling hemp jewellery.
Linda Schneider, a California resident, told CNN she got to know DePape roughly eight years ago and that he occasionally housesat for her. When they met, she said, DePape was living in a storage unit in the Berkeley area and told her he had been struggling with hard drugs but was ‘trying to create a new life for himself.’
She said that he was extremely shy. ‘He said he couldn’t even go and have a bank account because he was terrified of speaking to a teller,’ Schneider said.
Schneider told CNN she later received “really disturbing” emails from DePape in which he sounded like a ‘megalomaniac and so out of touch with reality’. She said she stopped communicating with him ‘because it seemed so dangerous,’ adding that she recalled him ‘using Biblical justification to do harm.’
Nude activist with seemingly contradictory stances
Governor Gavin Newsom‘s office issued a statement following the attack, saying it was ‘another example of the dangerous consequences of the divisive and hateful rhetoric putting lives at risk and undermining our very democracy and Democratic institutions.’
DePape a former nudism activist according to the San Francisco Chronicle was tapped to be the best man in a 2013 wedding of famed nudist activist Gypsy Taub at San Francisco City Hall. He was also one of a number of nudist activists who took marched against efforts by current state Sen. Scott Wiener, at the time a city supervisor representing the Castro and Noe Valley areas, who successfully pressed for a ban on public nudity, the Chronicle reported.
Officials indicated that DePape will be booked into jail on attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse and other felony charges.
Officials had yet to say what motivated the attack and whether DePape had sought to target the House Speaker.
Julián Castro, the former Democratic presidential candidate and housing secretary, is calling for more security for Nancy Pelosi after the attack on the speaker’s husband.