Accused Pelosi attacker: How he journeyed from Obama supporter to QAnon extremist

To co-workers who knew David DePape a few years ago, he was a gentle, quiet carpenter who liked to watch the “Game of Thrones” and “Stranger Things” series and brought sunflower seeds to his worksite to feed birds and squirrels.

“Everybody liked him,” said Frank Ciccarelli, 76, a carpenter who employed DePape in the Bay Area.

But when DePape began talking about politics, his outlook grew darker, they said.

“It was right-wing, all the way down the line,” Ciccarelli said. “He thought climate change was a hoax and Hillary Clinton is running a pedophile ring out of a pizza parlor. It was so ridiculous that it was hard to take seriously.”

Ciccarelli and others in DePape’s life were stunned when he was arrested for allegedly attacking Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in what authorities said was a plot to kidnap and torture the lawmaker.

Since his arrest two weeks ago, much attention has been made of his extremist, antisemitic rantings and apparent belief in far-right conspiracy theories.

But interviews with those who knew him for years presents a more complicated view.

They paint a portrait of a man who began to “deteriorate” over the last year and a half, as he spent a great deal of time alone, absorbing extremist views online and shifting his political views from supporting former President Obama years ago to believing in the false “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory. His quiet, gentle exterior hid an obsession with conspiracies, said friends, who believed DePape also had a history of mental illness, drug abuse and, possibly, childhood trauma.

His boss and a neighbor both say they realized DePape, 42, was spiraling into isolation and wish they had done more to help.

“I didn’t take it seriously and I was wrong about that, obviously, although I didn’t know any better,” Ciccarelli said. “I’ve tried to help him the best as I could, but there’s something going on here that’s not obvious to most of us.”

Read the full Los Angeles Times story here.

Or read recent related coverage of the incident.