Attacker charged with attempted kidnap of Nancy Pelosi, wanted to break her kneecaps

San FranciscoEdited By: Anamica SinghUpdated: Nov 01, 2022, 04:37 PM IST
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Jenkins said that the attack was "politically motivated” Photograph:(Reuters)

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San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins announced state charges, including attempted murder,  against 42-year-old David DePape Monday evening.

The accused who attacked US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer in California was federally charged Monday with attempting to kidnap her. David DePape, 42, is facing both state and federal charges.

A police complaint details what he told the police about the attack. He reportedly wanted to hold the Democratic leader hostage and “break her kneecaps”. He said that he wanted to send a message to other members of Congress that there were “consequences to actions", authorities said.

San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins announced state charges, including attempted murder,  against Monday evening. “This house and the speaker herself were specifically targets,” she said. 

Other charges include residential burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, false imprisonment of an elder and threats to a public official.

Meanwhile federal prosecutors have charged him with assault on the immediate family member of a federal official and attempted kidnapping of a federal official. They carry a maximum sentence of 30 and 20 years, respectively.

Jenkins also said that the attack was "politically motivated”. She urged the public to “watch the words that we say and to turn down the volume of our political rhetoric.”

As per the complaint, DePape told investigators that he wanted to talk to Nancy Pelosi and saw her as the “leader of the pack of lies told by the Democratic Party". 

“If she were to tell DePape the ‘truth,’ he would let her go and if she ’lied,’ he was going to break her kneecaps,” the complaint alleges.

Since she would then need to use the wheelchair to enter the Congress, it would serve as a lesson to other Congress members that there were "consequences to actions", DePape told investigators.

The accused was carrying zip ties, tape and a rope in his backpack and wanted to hold Nancy Pelosi hostage, the police had said. He broke into the couple’s San Francisco home early Friday morning but only found her 82-year-old husband Paul Pelosi, who was sleeping, and demanded to talk to “Nancy.”

Despite being told she wasn't home, the accused said he will wait. Paul Pelosi managed to dial 911 even though his message wasn't clear. The dispatcher sensed something was wrong and sent the police to their home at 2:20 am who saw DePape and Pelosi engaged in a struggle. DePape hit Pelosi at least once with the hammer before being tackled.

Meanwhile, in a statement late Monday, Speaker Pelosi thanked everyone for “thousands of messages conveying concern, prayers and warm wishes.” Paul Pelosi had underwent a skull surgery after the hammer attack and she said that he was making "steady progress on what will be a long recovery process."

(With inputs from agencies)