Paul Pelosi, husband of U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, attends a reception for G7 presidents at the Brandenburg State Parliament. Photo: Soeren Stache/dpa (Photo by Soeren Stache/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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The suspect accused of violently attacking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband early Friday appeared to have far-reaching and at times contradictory political positions, according to an early dive into his background.
While a motive for the attack against 82-year-old Paul Pelosi was unclear Friday evening, a picture of the suspect, identified by San Francisco police as 42-year-old David DePape, began to emerge.
Blog posts that are being investigated in connection with DePape describe someone with sprawling and contradictory views, multiple senior law enforcement officials familiar with the case told NBC News. The posts take aspects of liberal anti-establishment ideas to more recent posts that espouse positions typically associated with far-right extremism, the sources said.
He appeared to operate a website on which he wrote a wide variety of posts touching on almost all manner of modern conspiracy thinking: aliens, Jewish people, communism, vaccines, voter fraud and many other topics.
Many of the posts were published in the last few months.
The website, which was registered under “david depape” and to a ZIP code in the Bay Area, according to registration records, did not mention Nancy Pelosi.
Inti Gonzalez, 21, identified herself in a phone call Friday as DePape’s daughter. She said she wrote in a blog post that her mother kicked DePape out when she was 13 because of alleged “toxic” behavior.
Gonzalez wrote that she and DePape remained estranged until a few months ago when she reached out to him to see how he was doing.
“This attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband came as a shock to me,” she wrote. “I didn’t see this coming.”
She said that she had read his website but did not agree with all of his views.
“It made me happy to see that he had strong opinions about important issues that our world is facing today,” Gonzalez wrote. “He wanted to make a difference.”
“There is some part of him that is a good person even though he has been very consumed by darkness.”
A motive in Friday’s attack remains unclear, and DePape had expressed sometimes conflicting political opinions.
Police Chief William Scott said during a Friday news conference that officers arrived at the Pelosi home for a well-being check shortly before 2:30 a.m. PT. Police then witnessed an attack on Paul Pelosi. Both DePape and Paul Pelosi held a hammer moments before a violent confrontation, Scott said.
“The suspect pulled the hammer away from Mr. Pelosi and violently assaulted him with it,” he said. “Our officers immediately tackled the suspect, disarmed him, took him into custody, requested emergency backup and rendered medical aid.”
Paul Pelosi underwent successful surgery to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands, Drew Hammill, spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said in a Friday afternoon statement.
“His doctors expect a full recovery,” Hammill said.
DePape remained in the hospital Friday evening, the police chief said.
The House speaker was not in San Francisco at the time of the attack, according to her office. U.S. Capitol Police said in a statement that Nancy Pelosi was in Washington, D.C., with her protective detail at the time of the break-in.