The suspect charged with a violent attack on the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi early Friday was found to have far-reaching and sometimes conflicting political views, according to an early dive into his background.
While a motive for the attack on 82-year-old Paul Pelosi Friday night was unclear, a photo of the suspect, identified by San Francisco police as 42-year-old David DePape, has begun to emerge.
Blog posts under investigation in connection with DePape describe someone with expansive and conflicting views, multiple senior law enforcement officers familiar with the case told NBC News. The posts take aspects of liberal anti-establishment ideas into more recent posts that take positions typically associated with far-right extremism, the sources said.
He turned out to have a website where he wrote a wide variety of posts on almost all modern conspiracy thinking: aliens, Jews, communism, vaccines, voter fraud, and many other topics.
Many of the posts have been published in recent months.
A look at the man accused of assaulting Paul Pelosi
- David DePape, the man accused of assaulting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband early Friday, was looking for her, police said.
- Blog posts under investigation in connection with DePape, 42, highlight expansive and conflicting views, officials familiar with the matter said.
- A website that appeared to be linked to DePape covered almost all modern conspiracy thinking, including aliens, Jews, communism, vaccines, and voter fraud.
- DePape was booked in county jail on recommended charges of attempted murder, elder abuse, assault with a deadly weapon and burglary.
The website, registered under “david depape” and with a Bay Area zip code, made no mention of Nancy Pelosi.
Inti Gonzalez, 21, identified herself as DePape’s daughter in a phone call Friday. She said she wrote in a blog post that her mother kicked DePape out when she was 13 for allegedly “toxic” behavior.
Gonzalez wrote that she and DePape remained estranged until a few months ago, when she contacted him to see how he was doing.
“This attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband came as a shock to me,” she wrote. “I didn’t see this coming.”
She said she had read his website but disagreed with all of his views.
“It made me happy to see that he had strong views on important issues facing our world today,” Gonzalez wrote. “He wanted to make a difference.”
“There’s a part of him that’s a good person, even though he’s very consumed with darkness.”
A motive for Friday’s attack remains unclear, and DePape had at times expressed conflicting political opinions.
Police Chief William Scott said at a news conference Friday that officers arrived at Pelosi’s home shortly before 2:30 a.m. PT for a welfare check. The police then witnessed an attack on Paul Pelosi. Both DePape and Paul Pelosi held a hammer just before a violent confrontation, Scott said.
“The suspect pulled the hammer away from Mr. Pelosi and violently attacked him with it,” he said. “Our officers immediately arrested the suspect, disarmed him, took him into custody, requested emergency assistance and provided medical assistance.”
Paul Pelosi underwent successful surgery to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands, Drew Hammill, spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said in a statement Friday afternoon.
“His doctors expect a full recovery,” Hammill said.
DePape remained in the hospital Friday night, the police chief said.
According to her office, the Speaker of the House was not in San Francisco at the time of the attack. US Capitol Police said in a statement that Nancy Pelosi was in Washington, DC, showing her protective detail at the time of the break-in.
Sources told NBC News that before the attack, the intruder confronted Paul Pelosi and yelled, “Where’s Nancy, where’s Nancy?” One of the sources, a senior US official who was briefed on the matter, added that the investigation is still under development.
A relative who traveled with the speaker to San Francisco said the suspect brought the hammer and broke the windows of the Pelosi house overlooking the backyard. The relative said that once inside, the suspect tried to tie up Paul Pelosi and said they would wait “until Nancy got home.” When the suspect did not look, Paul Pelosi called 911. The relative said he was home alone and had been hit on the head several times with the hammer. When the police arrived, the suspect said, “We’re waiting for Nancy.”
Paul Pelosi had no security detail. Spouses of top legislators don’t get one because they’re not US Capitol Patrons.
DePape was booked into county jail on recommended charges of attempted murder, elder abuse, assault with a deadly weapon and burglary, according to prison records. It was unclear Friday whether he had engaged a lawyer. His next of kin could not be reached for comment.
The FBI, the US Attorney’s Office, the US Capitol Police and the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office are assisting local law enforcement in the investigation, Scott said.
Several people who identified themselves as FBI agents arrived at another Berkeley home Friday afternoon and could be heard to volunteer there and inquire about DePape.
A man who appeared to live in the house said DePape hadn’t lived there in 10 years and refused to speak to the officers.
He declined to answer questions about DePape, and the apparent agents also declined to discuss why they were there.
A Berkeley resident said Friday she had last seen DePape in a neighboring house two weeks ago. He was near a school bus parked in front of the house.
Trish, 32, said DePape lived for a while on the school bus and on a second school bus parked in the driveway of the house and promoting “natural addiction treatment.”
She said he seemed to be part of a “hippie collective” that stays at home.
A sign that read “Black Lives Matter” hung in a window in the house. A flag with a cannabis leaf and the colors of the pride flag of a tree hung in the front yard.
Trish said people who stay in the house are different from “all the other happy-go-lucky, peace, love and friendship hippies. They’re aggressive and mean and they start problems for no reason.”
She said people in the house regularly accused her and her partner of conspiring to break into or steal from their home. She said there was an accusation on Christmas Eve a few years ago when she said an officer knocked on her apartment door.
The officer said authorities had been informed that someone in her home was planning to steal a neighbor’s guitar, she recalls.
“I invited the officer in and I said, ‘Look around you – we’re watching ‘The Christmas Story’, there’s a ham in the oven, everyone is falling asleep. It’s Christmas.”
She said the agent apologized and left.
A man who identified himself only as a resident of the home connected to DePape said someone in his home called authorities after someone in Trish’s home learned about the theft of music equipment.
“It was probably stupid, drunk talk and they probably weren’t that serious about it,” he said. “But a complaint has been filed.”
He disputed Trish’s characterization of the people in the house.