SAN FRANCISCO –
The man accused of attacking U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer informed police he needed to carry the Democratic chief hostage and “break her kneecaps” to indicate different members of Congress there have been “consequences to actions,” authorities mentioned Monday.
In a chilling federal grievance, officers say David DePape, 42, carrying zip ties, tape and a rope in a backpack, broke into the couple’s San Francisco dwelling early Friday morning, went upstairs the place 82-year-old Paul Pelosi was sleeping, and demanded to speak to “Nancy.”
“This house and the speaker herself were specifically targets,” San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins mentioned at a Monday night information convention saying state costs towards DePape, together with tried assassination.
“This was politically motivated,” Jenkins mentioned. She implored the general public to “watch the words that we say and to turn down the volume of our political rhetoric.”
Investigators consider DePape had been researching prematurely to focus on Pelosi, Jenkins mentioned in an interview with The Associated Press.
“This was not something that he did at the spur of the moment,” she mentioned.
In a assertion late Monday, Speaker Pelosi mentioned her household was “most grateful” for “hundreds of messages conveying concern, prayers and heat needs.” Her husband underwent surgical procedure for a fractured cranium and different accidents after the assault. She mentioned he was making “steady progress on what will be a long recovery process.”
The stark narrative laid out by state and federal prosecutors stands in distinction to the mocking jokes and conspiracy theories circulated by far-right figures and even some main Republicans simply a week earlier than midterm elections. A document variety of safety threats are being reported towards lawmakers and election officers.
At a marketing campaign occasion Monday in Arizona, Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for governor, drew hearty laughs as she joked about safety on the Pelosi dwelling.
In addition to the state costs, DePape was additionally charged Monday in federal courtroom with influencing, impeding or retaliating towards a federal official by threatening or injuring a member of the family. He additionally faces one rely of tried kidnapping of a United States official due to their official duties.
No lawyer has been listed for DePape. He is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday on the state costs, and prosecutors will ask for him to be held in jail with out bail.
Authorities mentioned DePape smashed a glass door behind the house with a hammer, went to the upstairs bed room and informed a stunned Paul Pelosi to get up.
When Paul Pelosi informed the intruder his spouse was not dwelling, DePape mentioned he would wait — even after being informed she wouldn’t be dwelling for some days. The assailant then began taking out twist ties to tie Pelosi up, the grievance says.
DePape informed investigators he needed to speak to Speaker Pelosi and considered her because the “leader of the pack of lies told by the Democratic Party,” in keeping with the eight-page grievance.
“If she were to tell DePape the ‘truth,’ he would let her go and if she ’lied,’ he was going to break her kneecaps,” the grievance alleges.
“By breaking Nancy’s kneecaps, she would then have to be wheeled into Congress, which would show other members of Congress there were consequences to actions,” the grievance says DePape informed investigators.
The federal grievance says DePape mentioned he needed “to use Nancy to lure” one other individual, but it surely gives no particulars of such a plan.
After DePape confronted Paul Pelosi in his bed room, Pelosi tried to make it to an elevator within the dwelling to succeed in a telephone, however DePape blocked his method, Jenkins mentioned. In a nightshirt, Pelosi then informed the assailant he had to make use of the restroom, permitting him to get to his cellphone and name 911, in keeping with authorities.
Police had been dispatched to the house within the upscale Pacific Heights neighbourhood round 2:20 a.m. Friday. They arrived two minutes later to see the 2 males struggling over a hammer, after which DePape struck Pelosi at the very least as soon as earlier than being tackled by officers, Jenkins mentioned.
She mentioned police physique digicam footage “reveals the assault itself.” Police later discovered a second hammer, together with rope, tape and a diary in DePape’s backpack.
In the ambulance to the hospital, Paul Pelosi informed police he had by no means seen DePape earlier than, the grievance mentioned. And Jenkins mentioned Sunday, “We don’t have anything to counsel that these two males knew one another previous to this incident,” a assertion contradicting vulgar unsupported solutions on social media.
DePape informed investigators he didn’t depart regardless that he knew Paul Pelosi had known as 911 as a result of “much like the American founding fathers with the British, he was fighting against tyranny without the option of surrender,” the affidavit mentioned.
Speaker Pelosi, who was in Washington, D.C., on the time of the assault, returned swiftly to California. Unlike presidents, congressional leaders have safety safety for themselves, however not their households.
DePape is a Canadian citizen who legally entered the United States in 2000 however has stayed lengthy after his visa expired, in keeping with a U.S. official who was not licensed to debate the matter publicly and spoke on situation of anonymity.
Family described DePape as estranged, and he was identified by some in San Francisco as a pro-nudity activist who appeared to embrace a vary of conspiracy theories. DePape has lived for the previous two years in a storage at a residence in Richmond, California, the grievance mentioned.
The assault was an unsettling echo of the Jan. 6, 2021, rebellion on the U.S. Capitol, when rioters making an attempt to overturn Joe Biden’s election defeat of Donald Trump stormed the halls eerily calling “Where’s Nancy?” Some carried zip ties.
Elon Musk over the weekend tweeted, then deleted, a fringe web site’s conspiracy theories to his hundreds of thousands of followers, as his buy of Twitter has raised issues that the social media platform would not search to restrict misinformation and hate speech.
Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., was amongst these making mild of the assault on Paul Pelosi, tweeting crude jokes about it.
With practically 10,000 threats towards members of Congress within the final yr, U.S. Capitol Police have suggested lawmakers to take precautions. Chief Tom Manger, who leads the pressure, has mentioned the risk from lone-wolf attackers has been rising and essentially the most important risk the pressure is going through is the traditionally excessive variety of threats towards lawmakers, hundreds extra than simply a few years earlier than.
The beating of the speaker’s husband follows different assaults and threats. This summer time, a man carrying a gun, a knife and zip ties was arrested close to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home in Maryland after threatening to kill him. In 2017, Republican Rep. Steve Scalise was significantly injured when a Bernie Sanders supporter opened hearth on Republicans at a congressional baseball recreation apply.
Mascaro reported from Washington and Dazio reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo in Washington and Elliot Spagat in San Diego contributed to this report.