Who is David DePape? What we know about the suspect who attacked Paul Pelosi

The hammer-wielding suspect who broke into the home of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and allegedly assaulted her husband Paul Pelosi, was identified as 42-year-old David DePape.

DePape was booked on various charges, including attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, burglary among others, San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said in a news conference.

What we know about the assault: Suspect that attacked Nancy Pelosi’s husband facing attempted homicide, other charges

Here's what we know so far about DePape.

Who is David DePape?

DePape, 42, is from Berkeley, California.

He grew up in Canada, in Powell River, British Columbia, according to CNN.

David Depape is shown in Berkeley, Calif.,on  Friday, Dec. 13, 2013.  An intruder attacked and severely beat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband with a hammer in the couple's San Francisco home early Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, while searching for the Democratic leader.  Police were called to the home to check on Paul Pelosi when they discovered the 82-year-old and the suspect, Depape, both grabbing onto the hammer, said Police Chief William Scott.

DePape had 'strong opinions' that differed from those of family members

Teresa DePape, who is married to the suspect’s stepfather living in Powell River, British Columbia, told USA TODAY that DePape had left the area for California about 20 years ago.

“I didn’t know David to be a violent person,” she said. “But he was an aggressive speaker.”

The family had not been in regular contact with the suspect, but Teresa DePape said David emailed his stepfather a couple years ago, indicating that he would visit  and did not follow up.

Mark DePape, a family member, said he had lost touch with DePape long ago.

"I haven’t seen David in over 25 years. I don’t know David (anymore). He doesn’t contact family. I’m sorry to hear of this tragedy."

Teresa DePape also said David's “strong opinions” that differed from the views of some family members, including his stepfather.

"David was a good kid; he just had opinions," said Teresa DePape. She believed DePape was a fan of the Burning Man festival, an annual counter-culture arts gathering in the Nevada desert.

She declined to elaborate on those views.

After fielding reporters' telephone calls, she contacted law enforcement authorities in San Francisco. She said they confirmed that DePape was in custody. Teresa DePape said the family would wait until he reached out to them.

"I hope you find the truth," she said.

DePape's social media reportedly filled with right-wing conspiracy theories

On Facebook, DePape apparently posted that the trial of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, found guilty of killing George Floyd, was a “modern-day lynching,” according to CNN.

He also posted transphobic images, linked to websites claiming COVID-19 vaccines were deadly and posted links to YouTube videos with titles like “Democrat FARCE Commission to Investigate January 6th Capitol Riot COLLAPSES in Congress!!!” and “Global Elites Plan To Take Control Of YOUR Money! (Revealed)," according to CNN.

DePape's Facebook page has since been taken down.

A WordPress blogger self-identified as "daviddepape" lamented about purported censorship by “Tech giants and private industry,” suggesting the Founding Fathers “never imagined” a day when they could “single handedly silence the people.”

“The reason we have a first amendment is because censorship only applies to you," the blogger “daviddepape” wrote. "The elites/ruling class never censor themselves."

The blog has since been removed from WordPress. USA TODAY was unable to verify whether the account belongs to the suspect.

On a different blog under the name "daviddepape" which has also since been deleted, a number of posts belong to categories alluding to antisemitism, transphobia and right-wing conspiracy theories.

DePape was a nudity activist in California

While in California, DePape was known locally in Berkeley as a pro-nudity activist who picketed naked against laws that required people to be clothed in public, according to the Associated Press.

DePape lived with Gypsy Taub, another nude activist, and her family. The San Francisco Chronicle identified DePape in 2013 as a “hemp jewelry maker,” and “father figure” to Taub’s three children.

The group that DePape lived with also promoted conspiracy theories at the time, including the theory that 9/11 was “an inside job,” the Chronicle reported.

What was DePape charged with?

DePape was booked in a local jail at 1:27 p.m. PT. He has been charged with burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, threatening a family member of a a public official, dissuading a witness from reporting a crime, elder abuse, battery with serious bodily injury, damaging a wireless device and attempted murder.

No bond has been set on any of the charges.

Motive is still under investigation

The motive for the attack is still under investigation, according to a joint statement from the U.S. Capitol Police, FBI and San Francisco Police.

A source familiar with the matter told USA TODAY that DePape was calling out “Where is Nancy?” apparently in search of the Speaker, a question that also filled the halls of the Capitol building as rioters breached the Capitol on Jan. 6.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: David DePape identified as suspected Paul Pelosi attacker. What we know