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The 'Pizzagate' Shooter Is Going to Prison

Edgar Welch was given a four-year sentence Thursday after a bogus conspiracy theory led to an all-too-real scare at a DC restaurant.
Drew Schwartz
Brooklyn, US
June 22, 2017, 6:45pm
Photo by Sathi Soma via AP

A North Carolina man who stormed a Washington, DC, pizza joint with an assault rifle in search of a fictitious child sex ring was sentenced to four years in prison Thursday, the Associated Press reports.

Last year, 28-year-old Edgar Maddison Welch stumbled across rumors—started on Twitter, circulated on Reddit, "confirmed" on Infowars—that top Democratic leaders were running a secret pedophilia ring, headed up by then presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton. As the story gained steam, Welch—who's prone to conspiracy theories, as the Washington Post reported—figured he'd investigate for himself. On December 4, he drove six hours from his hometown in North Carolina to DC and, AR-15 in hand, rushed into pizza restaurant Comet Ping Pong—the sex ring's purported headquarters.

He fired the assault rifle (without wounding anyone) and searched the restaurant for evidence of the dark syndicate he'd read about online. But there was nothing there. Welch turned himself in to police shortly after. He ultimately pleaded guilty to interstate transportation of a firearm with intent to commit a crime.

On Thursday, Welch was sentenced in a DC federal court. Although Welch faced up to ten years in prison, he was sentenced to four—a penalty six months shy of what federal prosecutors hoped to slap him with.

Though no one was injured during Welch's siege, the judge presiding over his trial said the incident "literally left psychological wreckage."

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