Paul Pelosi Attacked

Suspect in Paul Pelosi Attack Told Police He Was on ‘Suicide Mission' and Had Other Targets

David DePape was ordered held without bail during his arraignment Tuesday in San Francisco Superior Court

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The man accused of breaking into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home, beating her husband and seeking to kidnap her told police he was on a “suicide mission” and had plans to target other California and federal politicians, according to a Tuesday court filing.

David DePape was ordered held without bail during his arraignment Tuesday in San Francisco Superior Court. His public defender entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf. It was the first public appearance since the early Friday attack for DePape, a fringe activist drawn to conspiracy theories.

In court papers filed Tuesday, prosecutors detailed the attack in stark terms as part of their bid to keep DePape behind bars. Paul Pelosi was knocked unconscious by the hammer attack and woke up in a pool of his own blood, the filing said.

DePape’s intent “could not have been clearer,” San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins wrote in the filing: “He forced his way into the Pelosi home intending to take the person third in line to the presidency of the United States hostage and to seriously harm her. Thwarted by Speaker Pelosi’s absence, Defendant continued on his quest and would not be stopped, culminating in the near fatal attack on Mr. Pelosi.”

Without being questioned, DePape told officers and medics at the scene that he was sick of the “lies coming out of Washington D.C.,” the filing said. “I didn’t really want to hurt him, but you know this was a suicide mission. I’m not going to stand here and do nothing even if it cost me my life.”

DePape allegedly told first responders he had other targets, including a local professor as well as several prominent state and federal politicians and members of their families. The filing did not name any potential targets.

“This case demands detention,” Jenkins wrote in the court filing. “Nothing less.”

Wearing orange jail clothing and with his right arm in a sling, DePape only spoke to tell Judge Diane Northway how to pronounce his last name. The 42-year-old defendant is scheduled to return to court Friday.

After the hearing, DePape’s public defender Adam Lipson said he looks forward to providing his client with a “vigorous defense.” He said his 42-year-old client’s shoulder was dislocated during the arrest.

“We’re going to be doing a comprehensive investigation of what happened. We’re going to be looking into Mr. DePape’s mental state, and I’m not going to talk any further about that until I have more information,” said Lipson, who noted that a no-bail detainer in state court is a moot point because DePape also has been placed on a federal hold in the case.

He later said he was pleased that Paul Pelosi was improving and expected to make a full recovery, adding he urged the public “not to pass judgment on what he called a complicated situation.”

“From experience, I can say that there’s always more to the story than what is initially reported,” he said, noting “there are a lot of rumors and speculation about this incident that will need to be sorted out in court once we review the evidence.”

The attack on 82-year-old Paul Pelosi sent shockwaves through the political world just days before the hotly contested midterm electionsThreats against lawmakers and elections officials have been at all-time highs in this first nationwide election since the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol, and authorities have issued warnings about rising extremism in the U.S.

NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit has new information on the past and present of David DePape. We’ve seen where he was living and what his Richmond neighbors thought of him. Investigative Reporter Jaxon Van Derbeken also spoke with his longtime boss for some insight on the man accused of attacking Paul Pelosi.

DePape faces state charges of attempted murder, burglary and elder abuse. He also faces federal charges including attempted kidnapping of a U.S. official. Those charges are outlined in an affidavit detailing the assault, which was largely captured on police body camera imagery after authorities responded to a 911 call from the Pelosis’ Pacific Heights home.

During a news conference after the arraignment hearing, Jenkins said her office won’t release the 911 recording or police bodycam footage unless they’re presented at trial.

The court filing said DePape smashed his shoulder through a glass window early Friday in the back of the Pelosis' Pacific Heights home and confronted a sleeping Paul Pelosi, clad only in boxer shorts and a pajama top.

“Are you Paul Pelosi?” DePape said, standing over him around 2 a.m. holding a hammer and zip ties. “Where's Nancy? Where's Nancy?"

A groggy Pelosi told DePape that his wife was not home and would be gone for several days. DePape then allegedly threatened to tie Paul Pelosi up — the first of 10 such threats, the filing says.

Paul Pelosi was eventually able to call 911 from the home's bathroom, where his cellphone was charging. While speaking to the dispatcher, DePape was gesturing and telling Pelosi to hang up, the filing said.

Pelosi then told the dispatcher that he did not need police, fire or medical assistance but he instead asked “for the Capitol Police because they are usually at the house protecting his wife.”

Moments later the dispatcher heard him interacting with a man and Paul Pelosi said “Uh, he thinks everything’s good. Uh, I’ve got a problem, but he thinks everything’s good.”

Two officers who raced to the home witnessed DePape hit Pelosi with the hammer at least once, striking him in the head, the filing states. Jenkins has said the assault was captured on the officers' body cameras.

Shocking new information came to light Monday on the man who broke into House Speakers Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco house last week. Terry McSweeney has details of the assault on Pelosi’s husband and the charges 42-year-old David DePape will face at his arraignment.

Speaker Pelosi was in Washington at the time and under the protection of her security detail, which does not extend to family members. She quickly returned to San Francisco, where her husband was hospitalized and underwent surgery for a skull fracture and other injuries.

In Washington, U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger provided a sobering update Tuesday of security protocols for members of Congress.

Manger said that although many improvements have been made since the Capitol attack, including the hiring of nearly 280 officers by the end of this year, “there is still a lot of work to do.”

“We believe today’s political climate calls for more resources to provide additional layers of physical security for members of Congress,” he said.

Manger said the attack on Pelosi’s husband was “an alarming reminder of the dangerous threats elected officials and public figures face during today’s contentious political climate.”

District Attorney Jenkins said the assault on Paul Pelosi appeared to be premeditated, and she appealed to Americans to “tone down” the political rhetoric.


Mascaro reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Stefanie Dazio in Los Angeles and Michael Balsamo in Washington contributed.

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