‘Pizzagate’ Shooter Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison
Edgar Maddison Welch, the North Carolina man charged with shooting an AR-15 rifle inside a Washington D.C. pizza restaurant has been sentenced to four years in prison.
Welch said he traveled from his state to Washington, D.C to investigate an online conspiracy known as “Pizzagate.”
“Pizzagate” was a widely reported online conspiracy that said Anthony Weiner, Hillary Clinton and her campaign chief John Podesta were part of a satanic child sex abuse ring based in Comet Ping Pong Pizza restaurant in Washington, D.C.
The conspiracy gained notoriety among politically motivated fringe media websites who helped spread the unfounded theory during the later stages of the 2016 presidential election.
Firmly believing the now largely disproved theory, an armed Welch entered the pizza restaurant late on December 4th to investigate and serve vigilante justice.
The defendant was said to have heard about the conspiracy theory and spent days reading about it and watching videos before deciding to go and “investigate” the issue himself.
Welch unsuccessfully attempted to persuade his friends to join him. He said he believed it will require “sacrificing the lives of a few for the lives of many,” to bring the situation under control.
Court documents said “the defendant then took it upon himself to act in what he believed would be a violent confrontation at the restaurant.”
According to reports, he first aimed his weapon at a Comet Ping Pong Pizza restaurant employee, then fired it into the floor and a cabinet. Welch was said to have believed the cabinet was where the abused children of this alleged satanic child abuse ring were being held.
U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson lamented during Welch’s sentencing hearing Thursday that his actions have “literally left psychological wreckage.”
His sentence was reduced after he pleaded guilty in March of this year to assault and carrying a firearm through state lines
In a statement Welch apologized for endangering Comet Pizza’s patrons, stating he had no “intention to harm or frighten innocent lives.”
Prosecutors hope that the sentence will deter future vigilantes from following internet conspiracy theories and taking action.
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