Pelosi’s alleged attacker faces attempted murder, elder abuse charges

Politics

(NewsNation) — Officials on Monday filed federal and state level charges against the man accused of attacking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer.

David Wayne DePape, 42, faces charges of assault on the immediate family member of a federal official and attempted kidnapping of a federal official. This is according to a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins formally announced the following state-level charges against DePape: attempted murder, residential burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, false imprisonment of an elder and threats to a public official and their family.

In a recorded interview with the San Francisco Police Department, DePape said that he was going to hold Nancy Pelosi hostage and talk to her. If she told DePape the “truth,” he would let her go and if she “lied” he would break “her kneecaps,” DePape allegedly told police.

“…she would then have to be wheeled into Congress, which would show other Members of Congress there were consequences to actions,” an FBI special agent wrote in the affidavit.  

Police arrested DePape following what has been reported as a violent attack with a hammer on Paul Pelosi early Friday morning.  

As of Monday morning, DePape was being held without bail and Pelosi was in the hospital recovering from surgery on a fractured skill, as well as serious injuries to his right arm and hands.

A joint investigation with the FBI, San Francisco Police and Capitol Police is currently underway.

Here’s what we know so far about the situation:

“…This was not a random act,” said San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott. “This was intentional. And it’s wrong.”

DePape is accused of breaking into the Pelosi home through a glass back door just before 2:30 a.m. on Friday and entering the couple’s bedroom on the second floor of the home, where Paul Pelosi had been sleeping.

Nancy Pelosi was not at the house on Friday. News reports state DePape yelled “Where’s Nancy?” several times. The San Francisco district attorney says DePape “specifically targeted” the Pelosi home.

According to the affidavit filed Monday, 82-year-old Paul Pelosi explained that the speaker wouldn’t be home for several days, but DePape allegedly said he would wait.

He also told Paul Pelosi that he wanted to tie up Nancy Pelosi and go to sleep because he was “tired from having had to carry a backpack” to their house, according to the affidavit.

The San Francisco district attorney reports that Paul Pelosi tried to get to the home’s elevator that contains a phone, but DePape blocked him from doing so.

From there, Paul Pelosi went to the bathroom, dialed 911 and alerted police to his intruder, speaking in code to a dispatcher, police said.

“DePape remembered thinking that there was no way the police were going to forget about the phone call,” the affidavit read. “DePape explained that he did not leave after Pelosi’s call to 911 because, much like the American founding fathers with the British, he was fighting against tyranny without the option of surrender.”

According to the San Francisco district attorney, DePape realized Pelosi called the police and took him downstairs near the front door of the home. She says two police officers arrived to the home minutes after the phone call was made by Pelosi.

“Her actions (the dispatcher), in my opinion, resulted in both a higher priority dispatch and a faster police response. I think this was lifesaving,” Scott said.

Police reported finding the two men struggling with a hammer and ordered them to drop it, before they observed DePape strike Pelosi in the head with the hammer. It’s unclear how many times Pelosi was hit.

The officers entered the home, tackled and disarmed DePape and took him into custody, Scott said.

Nancy Pelosi released a statement on Saturday, thanking everyone for their support and the fast action of the officers and the medical attention her husband received that morning.

“We are grateful for the quick response of law enforcement and emergency services, and for the life-saving medical care he is receiving,” Pelosi tweeted.  

Monday evening, Speaker Pelosi said her family is thankful for the thousands of messages conveying “concern, prayers and warm wishes.”

She added: “Paul is making steady progress on what will be a long recovery process.”

“So far so good. So far so good,” Pelosi’s son Paul Pelosi Jr. said after leaving Zuckerberg hospital where his father is being treated.

DePape is known for being a “pro-nudity” activist and his social media profile shows him to be an anti-vaxxer and a conspiracy theorist. The San Francisco district attorney told reporters DePape brought two hammers, zip ties, rope and a roll of tape with him to the Pelosi residence.

“What is clear based on the evidence that we have thus far is that this house and the Speaker herself were specifically targets of the defendant,” District attorney Brooke Jenkins said.

Jenkins said next steps in the state’s case involve DePape’s arraignment on Tuesday, where her office will be filing a motion to detain him without bail due to “obvious and severe public safety risks the defendant poses.”

As a political leader in the area, Jenkins said the incident unnerved her.

“It’s very sad to see that we are once again at a point in history where people believe that it’s OK to express their political sentiments through violence. I think it really demonstrates that we have to calm things down. We have to decide that we are going to be more respectful as an American society, that it’s OK to disagree. But it’s something that certainly has unnerved us all,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins believes more information will become available as the investigations by San Francisco Police and the FBI unfold.

“These threats aren’t new, let’s be very clear. Unfortunately, this is the era we’re in,” the San Francisco police chief said.

There is a heavy security presence at the Pelosi house on Monday morning. Also, Capitol Police will need to reevaluate security policies for top officials and whether it can extend beyond leadership to family members. 

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