David DePape, a 42-year-old with a concerning online presence and ties to a radical nudist activist, is accused of breaking into the San Francisco home of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Friday morning and attacking her husband with a hammer, according to city police.
Officers arrested the Berkeley man after they responded to a call around 2:30 a.m. and encountered him and the congresswoman’s 82-year-old husband, Paul Pelosi, struggling over a hammer.
“The suspect pulled the hammer away from Mr. Pelosi and violently assaulted him with it,” San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said during a news briefing later that morning. “Our officers immediately tackled the suspect, disarmed him, took him into custody, requested emergency backup and rendered medical aid.”
Both Pelosi and DePape were taken to the hospital after the incident.
David DePape (Michael Short/San Francisco Chronicle)
The attack left Pelosi hospitalized, but he is expected to make a full recovery after undergoing successful surgery on a fractured skull, according to Drew Hammill, Nancy Pelosi’s spokesman. He also suffered serious injuries on his left arm and both hands.
Hammill said that DePape threatened Paul Pelosi’s life while demanding to see his wife.
Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was severely beaten by an attacker who broke into their San Francisco home in the early moning of Friday, October 28th, 2022. Paul Pelosi, 82, was taken to the hospital and is being treated by doctors for injuries after he was beaten with a hammer (Fox News)
The suspect allegedly broke into the house and began shouting “Where is Nancy?” sources told Fox News earlier in the day
“Mr. DePape will be booked at San Francisco County Jail on the following charges of attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, burglary and several other additional felonies,” the chief said.
The motive remained under investigation, he added. The FBI and Capitol Police were assisting.
Paul Pelosi (L) and Nancy Pelosi attend the Bloomberg & Vanity Fair cocktail reception following the 2015 WHCA Dinner at the residence of the French Ambassador on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. Dimitrios Kambouris/VF15/WireImage (Dimitrios Kambouris/VF15/WireImage)
DePape has been described on Twitter alternately as a far-right extremist and a nudist who sold handmade jewelry.
He also had ties to a Berkeley nudist activist named Gypsy Taub, according to California State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco.
“She was the ringleader and she was extremely aggressive and creepy,” Wiener told Fox News Digital Friday. “And I think he was one of the people in her work.”
They weren’t “regular” nudity activists either, he said. They were aggressive, and she embraced 9/11 denials and has a criminal past.
According to an Alameda County District Attorney’s Office press release from last summer, a woman named Oxane Taub who shared the address was convicted of more than 20 charges after stalking a 14-year-old boy she had become “fixated on” and attempted to kidnap.
Nudist Gypsy Taub speaks with reporters after removing her clothing at the U.S. Courthouse in San Francisco, California January 17, 2013. Nudists gathered prior to a hearing on a lawsuit seeking to block implementation of San Francisco’s ban on public nudity. (REUTERS/Robert Galbraith )
“Over the course of 14 months, she sent him numerous obsessive emails, created blogs directed at him, used his friends to send him messages and eventually tried to abduct him a few blocks from his school in Berkeley,” District Attorney Nancy O’Malley’s office said at the time. “While the case was pending, Taub also tried to dissuade the victim from testifying.”
Separate court filings show a 2017 lawsuit over Wiener’s anti-nudity ordinance was filed by a plaintiff named Oxane “Gypsy” Taub.
The FBI arrived at Taub’s address Friday afternoon and asked a young man there about DePape. He told them DePape hadn’t been there in years.
The San Francisco home of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Paul Pelosi is seen after police say David Depape violently assaulted Paul Pelosi early Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. (KGO-TV)
Facebook disabled DePape’s profile early Friday and declined to answer questions. At least two online blogs under DePape’s name are stocked with posts from the years of 2007 and 2022 speaking of “censorship,” “Big Brother,” and pedophiles. One contained calls for violence and antisemitic content. It was not immediately clear that he was responsible for the posts, and San Francisco police did not immediately respond to questions about DePape’s online presence.
Teresa DePape, the wife of the suspect’s adoptive father Gene, told the San Francisco Chronicle that he left Canada after high school, roughly two decades ago, and the family lost touch.
“I never thought of David as a violent person,” she told the paper. “I can see David defending himself – why he’s in somebody’ else’s house looking for someone, I don’t know.”
The Pelosi’s $8.4 million townhouse is located in an upscale area patrolled by the San Francisco Police Department’s Northern Station, which saw a 4.3% uptick in total crime for the region year-to-date as of Oct. 23, police records show. Violent crime for the Northern Station was up 5.2% in the same period, compared to the prior year.
Fox News’ Adam Sabes, Stephanie Pagones and David Spunt contributed to this report.