Pelosi’s alleged attacker has published multiple conspiracy theories
The man who allegedly attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband posted memes and conspiracy theories on Facebook early Friday about Covid vaccines, the 2020 election and the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, and an acquaintance told CNN that she appears to be “out of touch with reality”.
Police on Friday identified David DePape, 42, as the suspect in the attack on Paul Pelosi at the speaker’s home in San Francisco.
Three of DePape’s relatives told CNN that DePape had been estranged from his family for years and confirmed that the Facebook account — which was removed by the social network on Friday — belonged to him.
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His stepfather, Gene DePape, said David DePape grew up in Powell River, British Columbia, and left Canada about 20 years ago to pursue the relationship that brought him to California.
“I really don’t know what to think,” the suspect’s uncle, Mark DePape, said of his nephew’s alleged attack on Pelosi. “Let’s hope it’s a hoax. I don’t want to hear that kind of thing.”
People who knew DePape in California described him as a strange character.
And in 2013 article in the San Francisco Chronicle identified him as a “hemp jewelry maker” and said he lived with a nudist activist. Other photos published on the Chronicle DePape – fully clothed – at a nude wedding on the steps of San Francisco City Hall.
Linda Schneider, a California resident, told CNN that she met DePape about eight years ago and that he occasionally sat for her. When they met, she said, DePape was living in a warehouse in the Berkeley area and told her he had struggled with hard drugs but was “trying to make a new life for himself.”
She said he was extremely shy. “He said he couldn’t even go and have a bank account because he was afraid to talk to the teller,” Schneider said.
But Schneider later received “really disturbing” emails from DePape in which he sounded like “a megalomaniac and so out of touch with reality,” she said. She said she stopped communicating with him “because it seemed so dangerous,” adding that she remembers him “using biblical justification to cause harm.”
DePape’s social media presence similarly paints a picture of someone on a troubling trajectory, falling for conspiracy theories in recent years.
Last year, David DePape posted on his Facebook page links to multiple videos made by My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell falsely claiming that the 2020 election was stolen. Other posts included transphobic images and linked to websites claiming that Covid vaccines are deadly. “The death rates being promoted are what ‘THEY’ want to be promoted as the death rate,” one post reads.
DePape also posted links to YouTube videos with titles like “Democrat FARCE Commission to Investigate 6th January Capitol Riot COLAPSES in Congress!!!” and “Global Elites Plan to Take Control of YOUR Money! (Revealed)”
Two days after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of killing George Floyd, DePape wrote that the trial was a “modern-day lynching,” falsely suggesting that Floyd died of a drug overdose.
He also posted content about the “Great Reset” – a widespread conspiracy theory that global elites are using the coronavirus to usher in a new world order in which they gain more power and oppress the masses. And he complained that politicians who promise to try to win votes “offer you bribes in exchange for your continued enslavement”.
Most of the public posts on DePape’s Facebook page were from 2021. In earlier years, DePape also posted lengthy stories about religion, including claims that “Jesus is the antichrist.” None of the public posts mentioned Pelosi.
Recently, two other blogs written by someone with the username “daviddepape” posted content similar to that on DePape’s Facebook page.
In a series of posts on the WordPress.com blog over several days in August 2022, the author complained about heavy technological censorship and published statements such as “Hitler did nothing wrong”. The site has since been taken down.
And another blog, also attributed to “daviddepape”, contained anti-Semitic undertones and content linked to the QAnon conspiracy theory. One video posted on the site includes footage of Pelosi swinging a gavel during one of former President Donald Trump’s impeachments, and another video includes an image of Pelosi and other politicians. The third video includes footage of Pelosi speaking on the House floor.
Other posts in recent weeks have included videos accusing LGBTQ people of “grooming” children, and stating that “any journalist who says” there is no evidence of election fraud “should be dragged right out into the street and shot.” . The latest post — a link to a YouTube video comparing colleges to cults — came a day before the Pelosi attack.
CNN could not confirm that the two blogs were written by DePape.
Another former acquaintance of DePape’s also told CNN that he had displayed his behavior over the years.
Laura Hayes, who also lives in California, said she worked with DePape several months ago, about a decade ago, making hemp bracelets while he was living in a warehouse in the Berkeley area. She said DePape sold the bracelets as a business.
“He was very strange. He didn’t make eye contact very well,” Hayes said. She recalled how he said that he was “talking to angels and that it would be hard to come by.” But she didn’t recall any serious threatening comments and said she didn’t think much of it because it’s “Berkeley,” a place where eccentric characters aren’t uncommon.
Hayes, who was friends with DePape on Facebook, called his more recent posts “so phobic in so many ways” and filled with “so much anger.”
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