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David DePape charged with assault, attempted kidnapping in attack on Paul Pelosi

A police vehicle parked outside the home of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in San Francisco, on Saturday. The accused assailant, David Wayne DePape, faces felony charges — assault and attempted kidnapping of an immediate family member of a U.S. official — which could land him in prison for a maximum of 50 years.

The Justice Department has filed federal felony charges against the man who broke into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco home and attacked her husband with a hammer. The accused could face a maximum of 50 years in prison in last Friday's attack.

David Wayne DePape faces two felony charges after allegedly breaking into the Pelosi's home: one count of assault of an immediate family member of a United States official with the intent to retaliate against the official on account of the performance of official duties, which could bring a maximum prison sentence of 30 years; one count of attempted kidnapping of a United States official on account of the performance of official duties, which could bring a maximum of 20 years.

Police report

Police responded to a 911 call from Paul Pelosi last Friday, according to the Department of Justice, after the 82-year-old woke to an intruder in his bedroom. DePape, a 42-year-old from the San Francisco Bay Area, and Paul Pelosi were mid-struggle over a hammer when officers arrived.

Officers said the suspect gained control of the weapon, striking Paul Pelosi in the head, knocking him unconscious. Police recovered a roll of tape, white rope, a second hammer, a pair of rubber and cloth gloves and zip ties from the crime scene, according to the DOJ.

DePape allegedly broke into the home in search of the congresswoman, who was in Washington, D.C., at the time of the attack. "Where's Nancy?" DePape asked Paul Pelosi.

After learning about the attack, the speaker raced back to California to be with her husband, who was treated for a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands.

Political climate

President Biden condemned the assault as "despicable," tying it to the spread of misinformation and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

"What makes us think that one party can talk about 'stolen elections,' 'COVID being a hoax,' 'this is all a bunch of lies' — and it not affect people who may not be so well-balanced? What makes us think that it's not going to corrode the political climate?" Biden said last Friday.

A range of U.S. law enforcement agencies warned of an increase in potential attacks against political figures, election workers and religious minorities the same day as the attack. Conspiracy theories surrounding a fraudulent election have contributed to several attacks and violent plots since 2021, the bulletin warned, and many attackers would likely do so for ideological reasons.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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