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David DePape charged with attempted homicide for assault on Paul Pelosi; Republicans condemn attack

Pelosi
Paul Pelosi and Nancy Pelosi attend the TIME 100 Gala 2019 Cocktails at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 23, 2019, in New York City. |

A 42-year-old man who attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband, Paul, with a hammer inside their home in San Francisco on Friday is facing charges of attempted homicide as both liberals and conservatives are condemning the act of violence. 

David DePape, a Berkely resident, was arrested Friday after he broke into the couple's home in San Francisco's Pacific Heights neighborhood early Friday, pulled a hammer from Paul Pelosi, 82, and "violently attacked" him, according to San Francisco Police Chief William Scott. When inside the home, DePape was heard yelling, "Where is Nancy?"

The suspect is facing several charges, including attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse and burglary. According to reports, DePape shared far-right conspiracy theories online and also ran a Wordpress blog called God Is Loving.

Paul Pelosi made a 911 call from the bathroom, and when police arrived, they found DePape and Paul Pelosi struggling over a hammer. Then, the suspect pulled the hammer away from Pelosi and "violently assaulted" him, Scott said.

Officers quickly tackled DePape, disarmed and detained him.

Paul Pelosi suffered a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands, Pelosi's spokesman Drew Hammill said. Nancy Pelosi was in Washington when the attack occurred. 

"Mr. Pelosi was taken to the hospital, where he is receiving excellent medical care and is expected to make a full recovery.

"The Speaker and her family are grateful to the first responders and medical professionals involved, and request privacy at this time."

Pelosi underwent successful surgery to repair the skull fracture on Friday, the U.S. House Speaker's office said in a statement.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that DePape came to the Bay Area after becoming estranged from his family in British Columbia over 20 years ago. DePape joined a nudist group and became a hemp jewelry maker. He also, at one point, registered with the left-leaning Green Party, a faction that promotes environmentalism and other progressive causes.   

While he once seemingly supported liberal causes, his political views in more recent years appear to have shifted as a social media account believed to belong to DePape, reviewed by media outlets before being disabled, shared conspiracy theories about topics such as the 2020 presidential election and COVID-19 vaccines. 

Citing law enforcement agents with knowledge of the situation, The Wall Street Journal reports that DePape held predominantly right-wing views on social media. 

CNN reports that DePape posted links on his Facebook page to several videos produced by My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell claiming that the 2020 election was stolen, a claim also made by former President Donald Trump. DePape also posted links on Facebook claiming the House of Representatives investigation of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol was a "farce." Another post warned that "Global Elites Plan to Take Control of YOUR Money." 

Sources told KTVU that authorities found a manifesto belonging to DePape as well as a list of other politicians he planned to target. 

San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins tweeted Friday that her office will bring "bring forward multiple felony charges on Monday" and "expect DePape to be arraigned on Tuesday."

The White House called the attack "horrible," and said President Biden "is praying for Paul Pelosi and for Speaker Pelosi's whole family."

Several key Republican figures have condemned the attack, including those who have been attacked in the past. 

House Republican Whip Steve Scalise, one of six people shot at a Congressional baseball game practice in 2017 by a left-wing political activist, said he was "disgusted" to hear about the "horrific assault."

"Grateful for law enforcement's actions to respond. Let's be clear: Violence has no place in this country. I'm praying for Paul Pelosi's full recovery," he wrote in a tweet.

Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said, "no one deserves to be assaulted."

"Unlike Nancy Pelosi's daughter who celebrated my assault, I condemn this attack and wish Mr. Pelosi a speedy recovery," he tweeted.

Paul's comment was about a 2017 attack by his neighbor, where he sustained broken ribs and bruised lungs, for which he was mocked on Twitter by some progressive commentators. A screenshot shared in 2020 purports to show a since-deleted tweet from Christine Pelosi stating that "Rand Paul's neighbor was right."

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he was "horrified and disgusted" by the news of the attack.

"Grateful to hear that Paul is on track to make a full recovery and that law enforcement including our stellar Capitol Police are on the case," he wrote in a tweet.

Former Vice President Mike Pence tweeted that the act is an "outrage."

"[O]ur hearts are with the entire Pelosi family. ⁦We pray Paul will make a full recovery," Pence wrote. "There can be no tolerance for violence against public officials or their families. This man should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

DePape's stepfather, Gene DePape, said David DePape grew up in Powell River, British Columbia, leaving Canada about 20 years ago to be in California to pursue a romantic relationship.

"David was never violent that I seen and was never in any trouble although he was very reclusive and played too much video games," Gene DePape told The Associated Press.

DePape lived with a nudist activist, according to a 2013 report in The San Francisco Chronicle, which also published photos that show him, fully clothed, at a nude wedding on the steps of San Francisco City Hall.

California resident Linda Schneider told CNN she met DePape over eight years ago when he was living in a storage unit in the Berkeley area and had been struggling with hard drugs. She described him as extremely shy and said he sent her "really disturbing" emails in which he appeared to be a "megalomaniac and so out of touch with reality."

She also said he was "using Biblical justification to do harm."

The suspect also reportedly ran a blog, godisloving.wordpress.com, which was deactivated after the attack on the Pelosi home. The blog had a banner that read, "Weclome (sic) to Big Brothers Censorship Hell," and carried posts about government, media, tech and alien conspiracies, among other topics, The Chronicle noted.

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