The man accused of breaking into U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco home and viciously beating her husband with a hammer grew up in Powell River, B.C., his stepfather told CNN Friday.
David DePape, 42, grew up in the coastal community just across the Strait of Georgia from Comox, leaving around 20 years ago and eventually moving to California, Gene DePape said in an interview with CNN.
When contacted by CHEK News, Gene DePape’s phone went straight to voicemail with a message indicating his inbox was full. However, in an interview with the Associated Press, he said the suspect had been a quiet boy when they lived together.
“David was never violent that I seen and was never in any trouble although he was very reclusive and played too much video games,” Gene DePape said.
He said he hasn’t seen his stepson since 2003 and tried to get in touch with him several times over the years without success.
“In 2007, I tried to get in touch but his girlfriend hung up on me when I asked to talk to him,“ Gene DePape said.
Another Powell River resident identifying himself as a relative of David said the family has been inundated with calls from media around the world and will not be commenting further on the case.
Two relatives told CNN that David is estranged from the family and confirmed that he was the owner of a since-removed Facebook account that posted memes and conspiracy theories about COVID-19 vaccines, the 2020 election and the Jan. 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol insurrection.
“I really don’t know what to think,” his uncle, Mark DePape, said of the alleged attack. “Hopefully it’s a scam. I don’t want to hear something like that.”
CNN reported that among the conspiracy theories posted on David DePape’s Facebook page were false allegations made by My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell that the 2020 election was stolen, links to websites claiming COVID-19 vaccines were deadly and content about the “Great Reset,” a conspiracy theory that a shadowy cabal of global elites are using the pandemic to usher in a “new world order.”
None of his posts mentioned Pelosi specifically, CNN reported.
However, David DePape was known in Berkeley as a pro-nudity activist who had picketed naked at protests against local ordinances requiring people to be clothed in public.
Gene DePape said the girlfriend whom his son followed to California was named Gypsy and they had two children together. DePape also has a child with a different woman, his stepfather said.
Photographs published by The San Francisco Chronicle on Friday identified DePape frolicking nude outside city hall with dozens of others at the 2013 wedding of pro-nudity activist Gypsy Taub, who was marrying another man. Taub did not respond Friday to calls or emails.
A 2013 article in The Chronicle described David DePape as a “hemp jewelry maker” who lived in a Victorian flat in Berkeley with Taub, who hosted a talk show on local public-access TV called “Uncensored 9/11,” in which she appeared naked and pushed conspiracy theories that the 2001 terrorist attacks were “an inside job.”
A pair of web blogs posted in recent months online under the name David DePape contained rants about technology, aliens, communists, religious minorities, transexuals and global elites.
An Aug. 24 entry titled “Q,” displayed a scatological collection of memes that included photos of the deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and made reference to QAnon, the baseless pro-Trump conspiracy theory that espouses the belief that the country is run by a deep state cabal of child sex traffickers, satanic pedophiles and baby-eating cannibals.
“Big Brother has deemed doing your own research as a thought crime,” read a post that appeared to blend references to QAnon with George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984.”
In an Aug. 25 entry titled “Gun Rights,” the poster wrote: “You no longer have rights. Your basic human rights hinder Big Brothers ability to enslave and control you in a complete and totalizing way.”
Police were called to the Pelosi’s home early Friday at around 2:30 a.m. to check on Paul when they found him locked in a struggle with his attacker, beating him with a hammer before being subdued and arrested by officers.
Officials later confirmed the suspect was searching for the Democratic leader and shouting: “Where is Nancy, where is Nancy?”
Paul Pelosi suffered blunt force trauma after he was struck several times in the head. He was admitted to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital for his injuries, the hospital confirmed. His condition was not immediately available, but Pelosi’s spokesman has said he would recover.
The intruder’s shouts were chillingly similar to the chants during the insurrection at the Capitol, when rioters trying to stop Joe Biden’s election searched menacingly through the halls for the speaker.
Police said a motive for Friday’s intrusion was still being determined, but three people with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press that DePape targeted Pelosi’s home. Those people were not authorized to talk publicly about an ongoing probe and spoke on condition of anonymity.
With files from CNN