The Washington D.C. pizzeria that was dragged through the mud during the 2016 election’s “Pizzagate” scandal, Comet Ping Pong, found itself in the midst of a terrifying situation on Sunday. According to Metropolitan Police, the popular, so-called Pizzagate restaurant was invaded by a 20-something North Carolina man brandishing an assault rifle on Sunday afternoon. The incident came after weeks of fake news involving Hillary Clinton, a child sex ring, and Comet Ping Pong.
A motive behind the Sunday incident was not immediately known, but D.C. police arrested the suspect outside of the business after he walked into the crowded establishment carrying an the gun, reports CNN. Police are not releasing the name of the man who brought his highly-visible firearm into Pizzagate restaurant Comet Ping Pong, although they have said that it is possible that the suspect fired at least one round while inside.
While nobody inside or outside the notorious Pizzagate pizzeria was injured in the frightening incident, law enforcement say that they found at least one shell casing at the scene, and that they have launched an investigation into whether or not their suspect actually discharged the weapon while at Comet Ping Pong.
According to Peter Newsham, interim D.C. Police Chief, investigators have uncovered “some evidence the weapon was fired.” Reportedly, if the assault rifle was discharged in the Pizzagate restaurant, the bullets trajectory was toward the floor.
Even though investigators haven’t released a motive in Sunday’s Comet Ping Pong assault rifle incident, the popular restaurant has been the target of disgusting and defamatory rumors since just before Election Day. That was when the so-called “Pizzagate” scandal was picked up by fake news sites. According to the baseless allegations, Comet Ping Pong, John Podesta (her campaign chairman) and others, including Comet Ping Pong owner James Alefantis, were part of a pedophilia-related conspiracy involving the Pizzagate restaurant.
FAKE NEWS ALERT!— General Deplorable (@HouseCracka) December 5, 2016
Comet Ping Pong Gunman Said He Was Investigating Online Conspiracy Theory: Police
As The Washington Post reports, following the scandal, the so-called Pizzagate restaurant, Comet Ping Pong became so widely targeted by fake news stories and even threats (some directed at the children of Comet Ping Pong’s workers), the owner had to involve police, the FBI, and social media platforms to attempt to have the libelous Pizzagate articles removed. Reddit.com removed a popular subreddit devoted to the Pizzagate conspiracy, resulting in substantial public outrage.
Even so, the Pizzagate hoax has continued, with some online forums (such as Godlikeproductions.com, Lunaticoutpost.com, and Abovetopsecret.com, among others) allowing the scandalous fake news story to fester and proliferate. The continued conspiracy talk about Comet Ping Pong and Pizzagate even resulted in other local businesses receiving threats. According to the owner of the nearby Little Red Fox, Matt Carr, his business received up to 40 threatening calls before employees stopped answering blocked calls.
“One person said he wanted to line us up in front of a firing squad.”
@washingtonpost Republicans all feel like they're OK'd to go all High Plains Drifter now that Trump won. Lots of dumb violence will go down.— Nik Treehorne (@NikTreehorne) December 5, 2016
@finneyk the anonymous social networking has created this environment.. also got a billionaire troll elected potus— Steve Jessup (@SteveJessup_) December 5, 2016
A gunman at Comet Ping Pong seems like a very convenient engineered plot to paint those exposing #pizzagate as wackos.— indiana jorts (@wienerherzog) December 4, 2016
The owner of Comet Ping Pong, James Alefantis, says all of the threats and dangerous drama are directly associated with the online Pizzagate scandal.
“There’s some old painted-over symbol on the marquee that they claim is an international symbol of pedophilia, and that there are underground tunnels…. There’s some video on YouTube that has almost 100,000 views and talks about me, the owner of the Little Red Fox, by name.”
In the aftermath of today’s terrifying incident, Alefantis said that being targeted by violence (or even potential violence) was the worst possible outcome of the Pizzagate hoax.
“This was our worst fear that someone would read all this and come to the block with a gun. And today it happened.”
a man was just arrested with a gun at comet pizzeria, the target of an anti-Clinton/pro-Trump conspiracy theory. https://t.co/Ri9PnNXfAr— Mazel Tov Cocktail (@AdamSerwer) December 4, 2016
As a result of the armed North Carolina man showing up at Comet Ping Pong on Sunday, the business and others in the area were on lockdown for more than an hour as law enforcement sorted out the situation. Customers at the Pizzagate pizzeria fled the scene in fear as the armed man entered the establishment. According to Sharif Silmi, who was at the restaurant with his family, he (and his wife and children) got outside as soon as they got a handle on the situation.
According to Silmi, who is Muslim, the fault for Sunday’s incident lies squarely on the shoulders of people perpetuating the false Pizzagate rumors, online and otherwise.
“[Those spreading] false rumors [about Comet Ping Pong] online. They put our children’s lives in danger today.”
Following the close call involving the assault rifle-armed North Carolina man, James Alefantis didn’t stop to answer the media’s questions regarding the Sunday Pizzagate scare at Comet Ping Pong. He did, however, have a comment.
What do you think? Is it time for a crackdown on web forums and other sites that perpetuate dangerous fake news, such as the Pizzagate hoax involving Comet Ping Pong, or was Sunday’s incident the fault of one lone suspect?
Update: The suspect in the Comet Ping Pong/Pizzagate restaurant assault rifle incident Sunday has been identified as 28-year-old Edgar Maddison Welch, of Salisbury, N.C., reports The Washington Post. According to police, the suspect pointed his weapon toward a restaurant employee immediately after walking in the front door. That employee fled, and the suspect allegedly fired his assault rifle at least once inside of the establishment.
He has been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon.
According to investigators, after his arrest, Welsh said that he had come to Comet Ping Pong to “self-investigate” the Pizzagate conspiracy theory.
[Featured Image by hiccoDodiFC/Shutterstock]