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Who Is David DePape, And Why Did He Attack Paul Pelosi?

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Image of Nancy Pelosi: Credit: US Embassy Ghana

Written By Habibi Bridges

Early Friday morning, a man armed with a hammer made his way into Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco residence, waking 82-year-old Paul Pelosi in his bedroom. Wearing only his pajama shirt and boxers, he was rudely awakened by the sound of a man breaking into his window. David DePape. “Where is Nancy?” DePape yelled at Paul.

Pelosi was able to save himself by telling the man he had to use the bathroom, where he had his cellphone charging. He called 911 and kept the line with the emergency dispatcher open, speaking in coded language.  “What’s going on? Why are you here? What are you going to do to me?” he asked the intruder, which prompted the dispatcher to ask police to deliver a wellness check at the Pelosi residence. 

Upon the arrival of the police, DePape and Pelosi were struggling to gain control of a hammer. The police, ordering the men to drop the hammer, tackled DePape after he succeeded in wrenching the hammer out of Pelosi’s hand and hit him in the head with it, rendering Pelosi unconscious.

San Francisco police chief, officer William Scott, who arrived at the scene, said “The suspect pulled the hammer away from Mr. Pelosi and violently assaulted him with it. Our officers immediately tackled the suspect, disarmed him, took him into custody, requested emergency backup and rendered medical aid.”

Pelosi was taken to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital where he successfully underwent surgery to repair his fractured skill and severe trauma to his hand. He is expected to make a full recovery.

San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said that the attack seems to be “politically motivated”. DePape is charged with the federal crimes of the “attempted kidnapping of a US official” and “assault of an immediate family member of a US official with intent to retaliate against the official”. These are in addition to state charges, which include “attempted murder, residential burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, false imprisonment of an elder, as well as threats to a public official and their family.”

Upon being interrogated by police, DePape intended on kidnapping and injuring Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and had brought a hammer to “break her kneecaps”. DePape came equipped with zip ties, tape, rope, and at least one hammer with him that morning. In a sworn affidavit, “DePape stated that he was going to hold Nancy hostage and talk to her. If Nancy were to tell DePape the ‘truth,’ he would let her go, and if she ‘lied,’ he was going to break her kneecaps,” the affidavit noted based on a police interrogation with the suspect. “DePape was certain that Nancy would not have told the ‘truth.’”

Nancy Pelosi, who was in Washington D.C. at the time, issued a statement regarding Paul’s altercation with the attacker: “Since the horrific attack on Paul early Friday, we have been deluged with thousands of messages conveying concern, prayers and warm wishes. We are most grateful.” 

Who is David DePape?

David DePape is a 42-year-old Canadian who has been in the US since at least 2001. His visa expired some time ago and he has been here illegally ever since. He obtained a social security number from his employer in 2001 while living in Hawaii. His grandfather, Gene DePape claimed that his grandson moved to California to pursue a relationship.

According to acquaintances, DePape was deeply immersed in QAnon conspiracies. He made posts spreading misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines, the 2020 election and the January 6th riots. DePape had previously posted religious rants, claiming that “Jesus is the anti-Christ”.

One California resident, Linda Schneider, who had known DePape through a non-profit claimed that DePape “fried his brain” from drug use. Schneider added that DePape had sent her “really disturbing” emails, rationalizing “using Biblical justification to do harm” and seemed like a “megalomaniac and so out of touch with reality.” She stopped communicating with him “because it seemed so dangerous” and was concerned for her own safety.

Discussions regarding DePape’s extremist views have rekindled the fears Democrats have been echoing regarding violence towards lawmakers in the wake of January 6th riots. On Friday, President Biden made a statement after news of the attack, saying “What makes us think that one party can talk about ‘stolen elections,’ ‘Covid being a hoax,’ ‘this is all a bunch of lies,’ and it not affect people who may not be so well balanced? What makes us think that it’s not going to corrode the political climate?”

A number of Democratic and Republicans have since condemned the attack on Pelosi since the incident unfolded on Friday.

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2 Comments

  1. November 1, 2022 at 9:31 pm — Reply

    QAnon. ‘Nuff said. This is the same right-wing hate that was on display Jan. 6th and has been building since Dubya stole the election with the help of his dad’s friends: https://www.sfweekly.com/opinion/we-all-saw-this-coming/

  2. Cadence
    November 3, 2022 at 12:36 pm — Reply

    Trump and other Republicans encouraged the idiots in the US to be bolder and louder.
    Unlike the old days, when idiots knew that they didn’t have the brightest ideas, now they wanna take charge, and even harm others based on their beliefs.

    We can look at it in a complex way, or we can just keep it simple: Anyone harming another are unfit to live in this society. They can think about how they fucked up in jail.
    If that was a black person, he would’ve been shot dead already. So let’s not excuse DePape’s completely out of line behavior. It doesn’t matter of beds a nudist or whatever, what does is his grave harm on others.

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