On Friday morning, the man who allegedly attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband posted memes and conspiracy theories on Facebook about Covid vaccines, the 2020 election and the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, and an acquaintance told CNN he seemed “out of touch.” with reality. »
David DePape, 42, was identified by police on Friday as the suspect in the assault 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 deleted by the social media company 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 a relationship that took 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. “I hope it’s a scam. I don’t want to hear anything like that.
People who knew DePape in California described him as an odd character.
A 2013 article in the San Francisco Chronicle identified him as a “hemp jewelry maker” and said he was living with a nudist activist. Other photos published by the Chronicle show DePape – fully clothed – at a nude wedding on the steps of San Francisco’s City Hall.
Linda Schneider, a California resident, told CNN she met DePape about eight years ago and he babysits her occasionally. When they met, she said, DePape was living in a storage unit 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 get a bank account because he was terrified of talking to a teller,” Schneider said.
But Schneider then 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 remembered him ‘using biblical justification to do harm’.
DePape’s social media presence also paints a picture of someone on a disturbing trajectory, falling into conspiracy theories in recent years.
Last year, David DePape posted links on his Facebook page to several videos produced by My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, falsely alleging the 2020 election was stolen. Other posts included transphobic images and links to websites claiming Covid vaccines were deadly. “Promoted death rates are what ‘THEY’ want to be promoted for death rates,” one article read.
DePape also posted links to YouTube videos with titles such as “Democrat FARCE Commission to Investigate Jan. 6 Capitol Riot Collapses 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 murdering George Floyd, DePape wrote that the trial was ‘a modern lynching’, falsely stating that Floyd died of an overdose drug.
He has also posted about the “Great Reset” – the sprawling 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 promised to try to win votes “offer you bribes in return for your new subservience”.
Most of the public posts on DePape’s Facebook page were from 2021. In previous years, DePape has also posted long screeds on religion, including claims that “Jesus is the antichrist.” None of the public posts seemed to mention Pelosi.
More recently, two other blogs written by someone with the username “daviddepape” posted similar content to DePape’s Facebook page.
In a series of posts on a WordPress.com blog over several days in August 2022, the author complained about big tech censorship and issued statements like “Hitlery did nothing wrong.” The site has since been taken offline.
And another blog, also attributed to “daviddepape”, featured anti-Semitic screeds and content related to the QAnon conspiracy theory. A video posted on the site includes a photo 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. A third video includes a clip of Pelosi speaking on the floor of the house.
Other posts in recent weeks featured videos accusing LGBTQ people of ‘grooming’ children and stating that ‘any reporter who says ‘there is no evidence of voter fraud’ should be dragged straight out into the street and shot. “. The most recent post – linked to a YouTube video comparing colleges to cults – was posted the day before Pelosi was attacked.
CNN was unable to confirm that the two blogs were written by DePape.
Another former acquaintance of DePape also told CNN that he has exhibited concerning behavior over the years.
Laura Hayes, who also lives in California, said she worked with DePape for a few months about a decade ago making hemp bracelets while he lived in a storage shed in the Berkeley area. She said DePape sold the bracelets as a business.
“He was very weird. He didn’t make eye contact very well,” Hayes said. She called him back saying that “he speaks to the angels and he will have a hard time coming.” But she didn’t recall any seriously threatening comments and said she didn’t think much about it because “it’s Berkeley”, a place where quirky characters aren’t uncommon.
Hayes, who was Facebook friends with DePape, called his more recent posts “so phobic in so many ways” and filled with “so much anger.”