‘Just your average student’: Former school counsellor remembers Pelosi break-in suspect David DePape

Click to play video: 'Suspect in Pelosi home break-in from Powell River, B.C.'
Suspect in Pelosi home break-in from Powell River, B.C.
The suspect in Friday's vicious attack on the husband of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is third in line to the presidency of the United States, has roots in Powell River, B.C. Kristen Robinson has more on David DePape and the bizarre circumstances that landed him behind bars in San Francisco – Oct 29, 2022

The man charged with attempting to kill U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband during an alleged break-in at the couple’s San Francisco home early Friday has roots in Powell River, B.C., where some in the Sunshine Coast community of just under 14,000 still remember David DePape as an ordinary teen.

Click to play video: 'Suspect in Pelosi attack grew up in BC'
Suspect in Pelosi attack grew up in BC

“He was just your average student,” recalled former School District 47 guidance counsellor Jim Palm.

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“There was never any concern or problems we faced when dealing with David.”

DePape, 42, grew up in Powell River. His stepfather Gene DePape told Global News he hasn’t seen his stepson since 2003, but as a child, David DePape was quiet and never violent.

San Francisco police said 82-year-old Paul Pelosi seized a moment of inattention from his attacker to dial 911 around 2:30 a.m. Friday.

Police dispatch audio stated the 911 caller did not know the male suspect.

“He advised that his name is David and that he is a friend…he sounded somewhat confused.”

DePape is accused of breaking in – and using a hammer to repeatedly strike Paul Pelosi.

Click to play video: 'Paul Pelosi attacked: Prosecutors say suspect sought to take Speaker hostage'
Paul Pelosi attacked: Prosecutors say suspect sought to take Speaker hostage

“Our officers immediately tackled the suspect, disarmed him and took him into custody,” San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said Friday.

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Police allege DePape intended to tie Pelosi up and wait for Nancy Pelosi to arrive home.

After smashing through the back door, he is accused of yelling “Where’s Nancy?”, an echo of what rioters said during the Jan. 6 attack.

“Our elected officials are here to do the business of their cities, their counties, their states, and this nation. Their families don’t sign up for this, to be harmed and it is wrong,” said Scott.

“Everybody should be disgusted about what happened.”

DePape’s family said he came to California for love about two decades ago.

Social media posts show DePape spreading conspiracy theories about Holocaust denial, pedophiles in government, and claims democratic officials run child sex rings.

“I feel sorry for the DePape family who are all fine upstanding citizens in our community – and it’s really a shame,” said Palm.

“Negative notoriety isn’t always good,” Powell River business owner Tony Stich told Global News Saturday.

Pelosi’s house is under guard when she’s at home.

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A 2019 Google Street View image shows three black SUVs outside, but Paul Pelosi, who’s recovering from surgery to repair a skull fracture and other injuries to his right arm and hands, doesn’t get the same protective security detail.

In a letter to colleagues Saturday, Nancy Pelosi said her husband was improving in hospital but that she and her family are “heartbroken and traumatized by the life-threatening attack on our Pop.”

Powell River remains shaken, knowing one of their own is accused.

“I’m disgusted and horrified,” one male resident told Global News Saturday.

“It’s a disgrace and a black eye on this great place of Powell River.”

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