David DePape: Suspect in Paul Pelosi attack tells police he was on ‘suicide mission’
Disturbing new details have emerged in the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, including that the alleged gunman told police he was on a “suicide mission” and had a list of other high-profile targets.
“This was not a random act of violence. This was not a random residential burglary. It’s something that’s specifically targeted,” San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said Tuesday.
Here’s what we currently know about the attack.
The alleged suspect, David DePape42, told officers and medics at the scene that he was sick of the “level of lies” coming out of Washington, DC, and “came down here to have a little chat with [Pelosi’s] wife,” according to a court filing on Tuesday.
“I really didn’t 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 costs me my life,” DePape reportedly said.
DePape named several targets, according to the filing, including prominent state and federal politicians and their relatives.
Jenkins confirmed to CNN earlier Tuesday that authorities believe DePape had other “targets” besides the House speaker.
When asked by CNN’s Erin Burnett about the suspect’s alleged plans, Jenkins said “there were other public servants who were obviously his targets, and apparently he was the first to show up at the speaker’s house.” The case, Jenkins said, is still “very fresh” and she declined to provide specific details about who the potential target was.
DePape was “cooperative” with police and “underwent a lengthy interview” before being represented by an attorney, according to the district attorney.
US Capitol Police first learned of the burglary at a home in San Francisco about 10 minutes after the incident when an officer noticed police lights and sirens on a live camera at the Capitol Police Command Center in Washington, DC, according to a source familiar with the attack.
CNN previously reported that there may be video recording of the burglary that police and the U.S. Capitol Police could inspect because there are security cameras in the home, according to two law enforcement sources.
The San Francisco Police Department stopped regularly stationing a patrol car outside Pelosi’s home last year, according to two other sources.
DePape pleaded not guilty Tuesday on all state charges during his initial court appearance.
He also waived his right to a hearing within 10 days at a hearing in a San Francisco courtroom. Judge Diane Northway set a hearing for Nov. 4 in San Francisco Superior Court to set a date for a preliminary hearing and bond determination.
DePape has been charged with a string of crimes, including assault, attempted murder and attempted kidnapping, following last week’s burglary.
The charge of attempted kidnapping is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. He has not yet entered a plea in federal court.
DePape’s attorney, Adam Lipson, said outside the courtroom, “There’s been a lot of speculation, a lot of rumors, simply based on the nature of this case. So I’m not going to add to all the speculation by talking about the facts of this case right now.”
“What I will say is that there has been a lot of speculation about Mr. DePape’s vulnerability to disinformation and that is certainly something that we will investigate, that we will delve into, as his defense team, but again it would be premature to discuss that at this time.” , Lipson said.
U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said Tuesday that the agency had “engaged in a review” of the incident and said the current political climate asks for more resources for the physical security of members of Congress.
“We believe that today’s political climate requires more resources to provide additional layers of physical security for members of Congress,” Manger said in a written statement.
“This plan would include an emphasis on adding redundancy to measures already in place for congressional leadership. We hope you can understand that we cannot disclose the details of these improvements because our country cannot afford to facilitate all potential bad actors,” he added.
Manger also said Capitol Police have “worked diligently to investigate reported threats, improve intelligence collection and analysis, and strengthen our partnerships with law enforcement agencies across the country to ensure safety for members when they travel outside of Washington, DC.”
California Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren CNN’s Brianna Keilar said Tuesday that MPs will not be safer “until we find out what is the root cause of this political violence”.
“RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, as well as Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, expressed their grief for Paul Pelosi. But then he went on to say ‘it’s really a product of crime – it’s the Democrats’ fault’.”
“That’s like saying Lee Harvey Oswald was connected to crime in Dallas or that John Wilkes Booth was a result of the crime problem at Ford’s Theater. Not only is it funny, it’s part of the problem of dismissing what causes this violence,” Lofgren said.
Just a day after releasing a lukewarm but grounded statement about the incident, former President Donald Trump fanned the flames of a baseless conspiracy about the attack.
“Strange things have been going on in that household for the last few weeks,” Trump said. “You know, it’s probably better that you and I don’t talk about it. It looks like the glass was broken from the inside out and, you know, it wasn’t a break-in, it was a break-in,” the former president told conservative radio host Chris Stigall.
Trump went on to say that he was “not a fan of Nancy Pelosi” but that what happened was “very sad.” He added: “The whole thing is crazy. I mean, if there’s any truth to what’s being said, it’s crazy. But the window was broken and it was strange that the police were standing there practically from the moment it all happened.”
In the days following the attack, several prominent right-wing figures have conspiracy theories floated about the attack – including that Paul Pelosi and the intruder were gay lovers who got into a fight.
The bogus theory goes back to an inaccurate early news report and a handful of evidence wildly taken out of context by its proponents. This is completely contrary to the explanation provided by the police and federal law enforcement agencies.
“There is absolutely no evidence that Mr. Pelosi knew this man,” San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said in an interview with CNN. “In fact, the evidence suggests just the opposite.”
Also Tuesday, Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake — whose embrace of Trump’s political brand has been a centerpiece of her campaign — said she did not address the attack earlier this week despite clearly joking about the lack of security at Pelosi’s home.
By contrast, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican who drew criticism last week after calling the attack part of a political attack on Nancy Pelosi, expressed regret for his remarks.
“At the end of the day, I really wanted to express the fact that what happened to Speaker Pelosi’s husband was horrible. And I didn’t do a great job,” he said Punchbowl News.
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