Man arrested after taking 'Pizza Gate' into his own hands

  • 05/12/2016
Comet pizza restaurant where the incident took place (Getty)
Comet pizza restaurant where the incident took place (Getty)

A man who took a rifle into a Washington pizza restaurant to "self-investigate" a fake news report that it was operating a child abuse ring run by Hillary Clinton has been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon.

Washington's Metropolitan Police Department said in a statement that Edgar Maddison Welch, 28, of Salisbury, North Carolina, was charged after the incident at Comet Ping Pong restaurant in Washington near the Maryland border on Sunday afternoon.

The suspect entered the restaurant and pointed a gun at a restaurant employee, who fled and notified authorities, police said. The man then discharged the weapon inside the restaurant. There were no injuries.

Police say during an interview with investigators Welch "revealed that he came to the establishment to self-investigate 'Pizza Gate' (a fictitious online conspiracy theory)," the police statement said.

Last month, media outlets including the Washington Post and New York Times, reported about death threats against the owner of the restaurant after internet postings said the restaurant was operating a child abuse ring led by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her top campaign aide.

Police said there was no active investigation of child abuse allegations there. The attack on Comet was considered an example of how fake news reports that proliferated during the election year affected people's lives.