- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 29, 2022

Nudist protester. Hemp jewelry-maker. Election conspiracy theorist: The man who attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi‘s husband had a complicated profile.

David DePape, 42, was charged on Friday with attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse and burglary, and other charges after fighting with Paul Pelosi with a hammer and ultimately attacking him with it.

The Canadian native and Berkeley resident moved to California about 20 years ago to pursue a relationship, according to his stepfather Gene DePape.

Others who knew him described him as an odd man who seemed “out of touch with reality.”

Linda Schneider, whom Mr. DePape would house sit for, told CNN she met him eight years ago while he was living in a storage unit in Berkeley and had been struggling with hard drug use.

Ms. Schneider said he was a very shy person who refused to even go to the bank out of fear of interacting with the teller.

SEE ALSO: Daughter of Paul Pelosi attacker says her father was ‘consumed by darkness,’ sexually abused her

She later recalled receiving “really disturbing” emails from Mr. DePape that seemed dangerous. Ms. Schneider said he would use Biblical justification to cause violence, and she ultimately stopped communicating with him out of discomfort.

Mr. DePape was also a well-known nudist activist in the San Francisco area, and was the best man at the naked wedding of Gypsy Taub, a Russian-born nudist who was well-known for her activism, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

A 2008 article by the Oakland Tribune reported that Mr. DePape had three small children at the time with Ms. Taub, who was quoted in the piece about sharing community meals.

Laura Hayes, who made hemp bracelets with Mr. DePape about a decade ago, said he sold the jewelry as his personal business practice.

He was very odd. He didn’t make eye contact very well,” Ms. Hayes said. 

Ms. Hayes added that he would talk to angels and warn of a “hard time coming.” In his recent social media posts, she said his comments were filled with “so much anger” and were “so phobic in so many ways.”

SEE ALSO: Biden says attack on Pelosi’s husband echoes Jan. 6, blames Republicans

Mr. DePape‘s social media posts indicate a strong penchant for conspiracy theories, including sharing posts that alleged global elites were seeking control of the nation.

Mr. DePape‘s Facebook page linked to several videos that repeated former President Donald Trump’s stolen election claims in 2020 and that COVID-19 vaccines were deadly.

He also shared YouTube videos calling the Jan. 6 committee a “Democrat farce” and warned of the “Great Reset,” which says global elites are using the coronavirus to usher in a new world order to get more power and oppress the masses.

Mr. DePape also wrote frequently about religion, starting a blog in 2007 called “God Is Loving” and referred to Jesus as “the antichrist.”

He shared entries about the QAnon conspiracy theory and invoked racial slurs, including the N-word, in his posts.

In a blog post by his daughter, Inti Gonzalez, she claimed her father had a dark side and that he had sexually abused her and her siblings.

“He did genuinely try to be a good person but the monster in him was always too strong for him to be safe around,” wrote Ms. Gonzalez, who said her mother met Mr. DePape when she was pregnant with her in Hawaii.

Ms. Gonzalez said Mr. DePape had an abusive upbringing and did not talk about it. She claims his mother would beat him “almost to death” while he was growing up.

Mr. DePape‘s assault on Mr. Pelosi has already invoked shockwaves toward public officials, who have blamed Republican rhetoric and extremism for the incident.

President Biden said the man echoed Jan. 6 rioters who shouted “Where’s Nancy?” in the same way Mr. DePape had when he broke into her home.

“It’s reported that the same chant used by this guy they have in custody was used on January 6th in the attacks on the U.S. Capitol,” Mr. Biden said. “This is reported. I can’t guarantee it. We can tell you what’s being reported.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, also blamed it on “divisive and hateful rhetoric” that is “putting lives at risk and undermining our very democracy and Democratic institutions.”

Mr. DePape entered the Pelosis’ $6 million home through a sliding glass door at the back of the house, seeking to target Mrs. Pelosi who was in Washington at the time of the attack.

The suspect confronted Paul Pelosi, asking him where his wife was and sought to tie him up “until Nancy got home.”

Mr. DePape told police the two were waiting for Mrs. Pelosi to come home when they arrived.

San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said there was a confrontation between the two men involving a hammer, and Mr. DePape began hitting Mr. Pelosi with the weapon once he got it out of his hands.

He was immediately tackled by officers who disarmed him and took him into custody.

Mr. DePape will be booked at the San Francisco County Jail. A motive for the attack is still under investigation.

Mrs. Pelosi‘s office said her husband, who suffered a fractured skull and severe injuries to his right arm and hands, will make a full recovery.

Mr. Pelosi underwent a successful surgery at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.

“The Speaker and her family are thankful for the outpouring of support and prayers from friends, constituents, and people around the country,” said Drew Hammill, spokesman for Mrs. Pelosi. “The Pelosi family is immensely grateful to Mr. Pelosi‘s entire medical team and the law enforcement officers who responded to the assault. The family appreciates respect for their privacy during this time.”

• Mica Soellner can be reached at msoellner@washingtontimes.com.

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