By OLGA R. RODRIGUEZ and STEFANIE DAZIO, Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The man accused of breaking into the home of House Speaker Nancy Pelosis, hitting her husband and attempting to kidnap her has told police he was on a “suicide mission” and have plans to target other California and federal politicians, according to a court filing on Tuesday.
David DePape was held without bail during his arraignment Tuesday in San Francisco Superior Court. His public defender pleaded not guilty on his behalf. It was his first public appearance since the attack early Friday.
In the court filing, prosecutors harshly described the attack as part of their attempt to keep DePape behind bars. Paul Pelosi was knocked unconscious by the hammer attack and woke up in a pool of his own blood, the filing says.
DePape’s intent “couldn’t have been clearer,” San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins wrote in the filing: “He broke into the home of Pelosi to take the third person in line for the presidency of the United States hostage and do serious harm to you. Frustrated by the absence of Speaker Pelosi, the defendant continued his search and was unstoppable, culminating in the near-fatal assault on Mr. Pelosi.”
Without being questioned, DePape told officers and medics at the scene that he was fed up with “lies from Washington DC,” the filing states. “I didn’t really mean to hurt him, but you know that was a suicide squad. I will not stand here and do nothing, even if it costs me my life.”
DePape reportedly told first responders he had other targets, including a local professor, as well as several prominent state and federal politicians and members of their families. The filing did not name any potential targets.
“This case requires incarceration,” Jenkins wrote. “Not less.”
Dressed in orange prison garb and with his right arm in a sling, DePape only spoke during Tuesday’s arraignment to tell Judge Diane Northway how to pronounce his last name (dih-PAP’).
After the hearing, DePape public defender Adam Lipson said he looks forward to providing him with a “strong legal defense.” He said his 42-year-old client’s shoulder was dislocated during the arrest.
“We will conduct a full investigation into what happened. We will be evaluating Mr. DePape’s mental health and I will not discuss it further until I have more information,” Lipson said.
He later said he was pleased Paul Pelosi was doing better and urged the public not to judge what he described as a “complicated situation.”
The attack on 82-year-old Paul Pelosi sent shockwaves through the political world just days before the hotly contested midterm elections. Threats against lawmakers and poll officials have been at an all-time high in this first nationwide election since the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, and authorities have warned of rising extremism in the US
DePape faces state charges for attempted murder, burglary and elder abuse. He also faces federal charges, including attempting to kidnap a US official.
While prosecutors didn’t offer a timeline ahead of Friday’s events, Jenkins previously told The Associated Press that the attack appeared to be premeditated.
“It wasn’t something he did on impulse,” she told the AP Monday.
Court filings say DePape smashed his shoulder through a glass window early Friday in the back of the Pelosi’s Pacific Heights home and confronted a sleeping Paul Pelosi, dressed only in boxer shorts and a pajama top.
“Are you Paul Pelosi?” said DePape, standing over him around 2 a.m., holding a hammer and zip ties. “Where’s Nancy? Where’s Nancy?”
A dazed Pelosi told DePape that his wife wasn’t home and would be gone for several days. DePape then reportedly threatened to tie up Paul Pelosi — the first of 10 such threats, the filing says.
Paul Pelosi was eventually able to call 911 from the home’s bathroom, where his cell phone was being charged. While speaking with the dispatcher, DePape gestured and told Pelosi to hang up, the filing states.
Pelosi then told the dispatcher that he didn’t need police, fire, or medical assistance, but instead “asked for the Capitol police because they’re usually in the house protecting his wife.”
Moments later, the dispatcher overheard him interacting with a man, and Paul Pelosi said, “Uh, he thinks everything’s fine. Uh, I have a problem, but he thinks everything’s fine.”
Two officers who ran to the house saw DePape hit Pelosi with the hammer at least once, punching him in the head, the files say. Jenkins said the attack was caught on officers’ body cameras.
Speaker Pelosi was in Washington at the time and was under the protection of her security department, which does not extend to family members. She quickly returned to San Francisco, where her husband was hospitalized and operated on for a fractured skull and other injuries.
In Washington on Tuesday, US Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger provided a sobering update on security protocols for members of Congress.
Manger said while many improvements have been made since the Capitol attack, including hiring nearly 280 officers by the end of this year, “there is still work to be done.”
“We believe today’s political climate calls for more resources to provide additional physical security for members of Congress,” he said.
Manger said the attack on Pelosi’s husband was “an alarming reminder of the dangerous threats facing elected officials and public figures in today’s contentious political climate.”
Dazio reported from Los Angeles.
Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Michael Balsamo in Washington, DC also contributed to this report.
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