Prosecutors say Paul Pelosi attack suspect tried to take speaker hostage

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 31 (Reuters) – A man has been charged with beating the husband of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with a hammer after forcibly breaking into the couple’s home and threatening to kill her if she was in his house. Lie under questioning, and she would take her hostage and break her kneecap. A federal criminal complaint filed Monday.

David Wayne de Pape’s alleged intentions surfaced as federal prosecutors charged the 42-year-old suspect with assault and attempted kidnapping after breaking into Pelosi’s San Francisco home before dawn Friday.

District Attorney Brooke Jenkins announced at a news conference that the San Francisco Superior Court had separately brought several state charges, including attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary, elder abuse and threats to a public official.

The 82-year-old U.S. House speaker, a Democrat and second-in-line to succeed the U.S. president, was in Washington at the time of the attack. Her husband, Paul Pelosi, 82, a real estate and venture capital executive, is hospitalized with a fractured skull and injuries to his hand and right arm.

Doctors expect a full recovery, the spokesman’s office said.

The incident, which Jenkins described as “politically motivated,” raised concerns about partisan extremist violence ahead of the Nov. 11 midterm elections. Resolution 8 will determine control of Congress in one of the most intense and polarized election campaigns in the United States in decades.

One of the highest-ranking Democrats in Washington and a longtime representative of one of America’s most liberal cities, Nancy Pelosi has often been a lightning rod for expressing conservative criticism and contempt.

Her office was ransacked in January. On January 6, 2021, a group of supporters of Republican then-President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol, some of whom went after her in the melee.

awakened by a stranger

DePape was arrested by police dispatched to the speaker’s home after her spouse made an emergency 911 call to report the intruder, according to an FBI affidavit filed as part of a federal criminal complaint.

The San Francisco Police Department found zippers in the bedroom and in the hallway near the front door. Police also found a roll of tape, rope, a hammer, a pair of gloves and a journal in DePape’s backpack, the affidavit said.

The indictment said Paul Pelosi, who was initially unconscious from the attack, later told police he was in the act when a stranger with a hammer crept into his bedroom and woke him up, asking to speak to his spouse. sleep.

According to Paul Pelosi’s affidavit, he told the intruder that his wife would be away for a few days, and the intruder responded that he would stay and wait for her. Pelosi’s husband recalled that he managed to sneak into the bathroom and make a 911 call, the affidavit said.

The suspect told police in an interview after his arrest that he planned to hold Nancy Pelosi hostage for questioning and that if she told the “truth,” he would let her go, but if she “ly lied,” he would fight. Broken her kneecap. FBI affidavit.

He told police he did not flee Pelosi’s home after Paul Pelosi called 911 because, according to the affidavit, “just like the American Founding Father did with the British, he did not surrender while fighting tyranny. choose.”

Police who arrived at Pelosi’s home saw DePape and Pelosi struggling with a hammer, authorities said. When officers yelled at the pair to put down their tools, DePape yanked the hammer away and hit Pelosi before officers overpowered DePape and took him into custody.

DePape has been charged in federal court with one count of assaulting a family member of a U.S. official and one count of attempting to kidnap a U.S. official. Prosecutors said the crimes stemmed from the suspect’s intention to retaliate against the Speaker of the House “for the performance of his official duties.”

The federal charges carry a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison, the Justice Department said in a statement announcing the charges. Jenkins said the state’s charges are punishable by 13 years to life in prison.

An internet user named “daviddepape” recently posted online messages on multiple sites expressing paranoia about minorities, Jews, women and trans people, while espousing the cult-like right-wing conspiracy theory QAnon.

An earlier online message promoted quartz crystals and hemp bracelets. Reuters could not confirm that the posts were created by the suspects charged on Monday.

Experts on extremist ideology say Friday’s attack appears to be an example of a growing trend they call “random terrorism”, in which sometimes unstable individuals are driven by hate speech and their online presence Inspired by violence by seeing and hearing responses from public more

Reporting by Paresh Dave in San Francisco and Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Sarah N. Lynch in Washington, Brendan O’Brien in Chicago and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Howard Goller and Rosalba O’Brien

Our Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Paresh Dave

Thomson Reuters

Tech reporters in the San Francisco Bay Area cover Google and other Alphabet Inc. companies. After four years at the Los Angeles Times, he joined Reuters in 2017 to focus on the local tech industry.

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