Home / National News / 'Pizzagate' Shooting Suspect Faces Federal Charge


(WASHINGTON) — The North Carolina man who is accused of firing an assault rifle inside a Washington, D.C. pizza restaurant while “self-investigating” a fake news story is now facing a federal charge as new court documents reveal what happened leading up to and during the incident last week.

Local charges have been dismissed against Edgar Maddison Welch and his case has been moved to federal court where the 28-year-old is now charged with interstate transportation of a firearm with intent to commit a felony, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and potential financial penalties.

Welch traveled from North Carolina to Washington, D.C. and on Dec. 4 allegedly fired an AR-15 inside the restaurant Comet Ping Pong, according to police and prosecutors. The restaurant is a popular pizza place in the nation’s capital and also the subject of “Pizzagate,” the fake news conspiracy theory circulated online that alleges Comet Ping Pong and the Hillary Clinton campaign were involved in child sex-trafficking.

According to federal documents filed Monday, Welch told police he was searching for evidence of hidden rooms or tunnels, or the alleged crimes involved in “Pizzagate.” He found a locked door and unsuccessfully tried to force it open with a butter knife and then by shooting the lock, the court documents said. When that proved to be unsuccessful, the documents said he climbed over furniture to look into the room and saw it was empty.

Welch also encountered a Comet Ping Pong employee who entered from the rear of the restaurant, according to the court documents, but he denied pointing his rifle at the worker.

There were no injuries reported in the shooting, police and prosecutors said, and Welch was arrested without incident. He surrendered to police when he said he “found no evidence of child sex-trafficking,” the documents said.

In their investigation, police discovered cell phone evidence that Welch was contemplating a “violent confrontation” at least three days before he went to Comet Ping Pong, the court documents said. In a text on Dec. 1, Welch told his girlfriend he was researching “Pizzagate” and it was making him “sick,” the documents stated.

According to the documents, he texted a friend on Dec. 2 and wrote: “Raiding a pedo ring, possibly sacrificing the lives of a few for the lives of many. Standing up against a corrupt system that kidnaps, tortures and rapes babies and children in our own backyard…”

His phone also had a video recording from about 11 a.m. on Dec. 4, the day of the incident, where he told family members he loved them and hoped that he had “showed it” and that if he wasn’t able to tell them again, “don’t ever forget,” the court documents said.

Welch is scheduled for a preliminary and detention hearing on Friday.

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