WASHINGTON — The suspect who violently assaulted Paul Pelosi with a hammer last week was illegally in the United States, immigration officials confirm.
David DePape, 42, was in the country on an expired temporary visitor visa from Canada, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has asked San Francisco County to turn DePape over to the agency, which means DePape could eventually be deported to Canada. If convicted of crimes against Pelosi, he will complete his sentence first.
Records show DePape entered the United States in March 2008 in San Ysidro as a temporary visitor. Eligible Canadian travelers who present themselves as visitors for business or pleasure generally do not require a visa and are generally admitted for six months in the United States.
He faces a series of state charges including attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, residential burglary, false imprisonment and threatening a public official. He has also been charged federally with attempted kidnapping and assault with intent to exact revenge on a federal official by threatening or harming a family member.
For state charges, he could face 13 years to life in prison if convicted and federal charges carry a maximum of 50 years in prison.
Investigators say DePape broke into the San Francisco home of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul in an attempt to hold her hostage and break her kneecaps. DePape confronted Pelosi’s husband, Paul, and asked, “Where’s Nancy?” — who was in Washington, DC, at the time — before attacking him with a hammer, authorities said. Pelosi, 82, underwent surgery that day to repair a fractured skull and serious injuries to his right arm and hands.
The suspect appears to have operated a website where he has written a wide variety of posts covering nearly every mode of modern conspiracy thinking: aliens, Jewish people, communism, vaccines, voter fraud and many other topics . Two law enforcement officials said a first look at DePape’s online footprint showed recent blog posts that espoused ideas commonly associated with far-right extremism, as well as liberal ideas anti-establishment.
Law enforcement determined Saturday that DePape had been living for two years in the garage of a residence in Richmond, just outside San Francisco. In the garage, “among other things, officers seized two hammers, a sword and a pair of rubber and cloth gloves,” the complaint states.