The man who allegedly attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband in their San Francisco home early Friday morning has been identified by police as David DePape, who has a history in Berkeley.
DePape, 42, was arrested on suspicion of attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary, elder abuse and several other felony charges, according to San Francisco police.
The assailant shouted “Where is Nancy, where is Nancy?” before assaulting Paul Pelosi, 82, according to the Associated Press.
San Francisco police responding to a 2:27 a.m. call for help observed both DePape and Pelosi both holding a single hammer. After police officers ordered both men to drop the hammer, DePape began “violently” attacking Pelosi with the tool, police said. At that point, police said, officers tackled DePape.
Both Pelosi and DePape were hospitalized after the attack. A spokesperson for the House Speaker said her husband underwent “successful surgery to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands,” and is “expected to make a full recovery.”
“The motive for this attack is still being determined,” said San Francisco Police Chief William Scott at a press briefing. He said it was not “a random act.”
DePape once lived in Berkeley with Gypsy Taub, an activist famous for protesting nudist bans, and their three kids, according to news reports from 2008 and 2013 in the Oakland Tribune and SF Chronicle.
Taub started a talk show on public-access TV pushing the theory that 9/11 was an inside job. She was convicted of child abduction and the stalking of a teenage boy in 2021 and is currently in prison near Los Angeles, as the Berkeley Scanner reported.
A KTVU reporter said FBI agents were seen interviewing residents Friday at a home where Taub once lived on Woolsey Street in South Berkeley.
DePape reportedly made hemp jewelry in Berkeley. He was living in Richmond before the attack, according to the SF Chronicle.
In August, a user by the name of David DePape began posting a stream of memes and videos railing against censorship, election fraud and the COVID-19 vaccine on a personal blog, which has since been taken down, and on a second website. His posts referenced QAnon and were filled with hatred for Jewish, Black and transgender people.
The blog welcomed readers to “Big Brothers Censorship Hell” and criticized Tech giants and private industry for “singlehandedly silenc[ing] the people.” “You can still turn on any mainstream news channel to hear day and night the narrative put forth by the people who rule you,” the site read.
Before this summer, DePape had not posted on the blog since 2007, when he wrote several posts about God’s love and shared a post about Stephen Colbert roasting President George W. Bush.
According to CNN, DePape posted right-wing conspiracy theories on his Facebook page, which has since been taken down, and acquaintances described him as increasingly agitated. Laura Hayes, who knew DePape about a decade ago when he was living in the Berkeley area, told CNN his recent social media posts were filled with anger.
The attack on the speaker’s husband comes as threats to lawmakers are at an all-time high following the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection on the Capitol and continued Republican attempts to legitimize the myth of a stolen election.
An outpouring of support for the Pelosis followed the attack, including from Gov. Gavin Newsom, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Berkeleyside Managing Editor Zac Farber contributed reporting to this story.