The alleged attacker of Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, lived in a Richmond garage and was known to his neighbors as a quiet right-winger.
David DePape was arrested Friday after allegedly hitting Mr. Pelosi with a hammer after breaking into the family’s San Francisco home.
Both the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Department of Justice filed charges against DePape, including attempted homicide, kidnapping and assault, among other charges.
Mr. Pelosi underwent a successful surgery for a fractured skull and is expected to make a full recovery.
The attack against the speaker’s husband has heightened fears around the safety of high-profile politicians and political violence generally.
Through a federal complaint filed Monday, it was revealed that DePape had been living in a Shasta Street garage in the city of Richmond. DePape is believed to have lived there for at least two years before the attack, and while some neighbors said they were shocked to learn he perpetrated the attack, others said they were not surprised.
Shasta Street resident Nancy Freeman said that she first learned DePape was a suspect when the FBI knocked on her door Saturday morning.
“I was the first person [in this street] the FBI interviewed,” Freeman said. “I thought they were Jehovah’s Witnesses at first, but it was the FBI.”
The 79-year-old has lived on Shasta Street for nearly 50 years and said she was surprised to learn DePape was suspected of a violent assault, remembering him as a quiet repairman, often seen riding a bicycle and holding a Big Gulp soda.
“It came as such a shock because he was known as a wonderful quiet person who did whatever he was asked,” Freeman said.
Freeman said she was surprised to learn that he had embraced far-right conspiracy theories. DePape appears to have recently posted a string of right-wing conspiracy theories to an online blog bearing his name.
Neighbor Jin Molnar lives across the street from DePape’s former garage home and said that he was not surprised to hear about the alleged assault.
“My reaction was, I wasn’t 100% surprised,” he said. “I kind of knew this was going to happen. He was too quiet.”
Molnar said that he recalled that DePape leaned right-wing politically and that he was often “tied up in his computer.”
“He was gravitating towards the new right talking points,” Molnar said.
Molnar, who is a self-employed gardener and landscaper, said that DePape would build fences, decks and other carpentry repair work, but he only worked with DePape occasionally.
Molnar said he does not remember hearing DePape ever mention Nancy Pelosi or the events from Jan. 6. He did not remember any history of violence from DePape either.
“I didn’t know of him breaking any tools or slamming any doors like that,” Molnar said.
DePape is set to be arraigned in court Tuesday.
Garrett Leahy can be reached at [email protected]