Edgar Maddison Welch, the Pizzagate shooting suspect, is going to face federal charges. The 28-year-old North Carolina man reportedly wanted to “self-investigate” a conspiracy theory related to child trafficking.
Welch has not yet revealed why he carried an AR-15 to Comet Ping Pong, a pizza restaurant in Washington D.C., and started shooting on Dec. 4. According to the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, a number of Democrats have been running a child trafficking syndicate in pizza shops in the national capital.
Police were quick to lock down the locality after the attack. Soon, officers with protective gears and guns arrested the Pizzagate shooting suspect. Welch reportedly had one firearm in his car, while he carried another with him into the restaurant.
According to Assistant Attorney Sonali Patel, prosecutors are going to dismiss local charges against Welch, as a federal arrest warrant has been issued against the Pizzagate shooting suspect. She, however, did not clarify which federal charges Welch is facing. It is also unclear when the shooting suspect has to appear in federal court.
According to Welch, the Pizzagate shooting was a wrong choice for him. Even though he wanted to “do some good,” the way he went about it was wrong. He said that he just wanted to have a “closer look” into the restaurant. But, it was heartbreaking for the Pizzagate shooting suspect to think of the suffering of innocent children.
Welch, however, did not find any children in the restaurant. He has expressed regret about his action on Dec. 4. The Pizzagate shooting, nevertheless, did not hurt anyone.
According to police, the suspect surrendered as he got no evidence of minors being forced into child trafficking in the pizza shop. Welch later said that the intel regarding the matter “wasn’t 100 percent.”
Welch has been in police custody ever since the Pizzagate shooting took place. On Tuesday, he briefly appeared in Superior Court in Columbia. His parents were present in court. But, they refused to talk to the media, according to CBS News.
The Pizzagate shooting did not help the restaurant which was already suffering from the conspiracy theory. The fake stories about the connection between the pizza shop and a child trafficking ring were already upsetting for the employees. They received a number of threats via social media and emails.
James Alefantis, the owner of the restaurant, later slammed people for spreading false stories about the pizza shop. He blamed the “reckless conspiracy theories” for being responsible for the Pizzagate shooting.
“I hope that those involved in fanning these flames will take a moment to contemplate what happened here today and stop promoting these falsehoods right away.”
Sabrina Ousmaal, who owns a French restaurant named Terasol across the same street, said that the conspiracy theories had affected the business of other shops in the area as well. According to her, authorities have not provided enough support despite having been notified of repeated death threats. Now that an incident like the Pizzagate shooting has taken place, she wonders if people need to die before the authorities take any action.
Bradley Graham, who owns a bookstore and café called Politics and Prose in the area, expressed similar sentiments about the Pizzagate shooting. He too has been disappointed by the lack of support from the local authorities. According to him, another supporter of the Pizzagate theory earlier shot a live video inside the restaurant.
What Is Pizzagate?
According to the conspiracy theory which started during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, several pizza shops in Washington D.C. are involved in child trafficking.
When WikiLeaks released a number of emails by Democrats, it also included some emails from John Podesta’s Gmail account. His emails allegedly had coded information about the human trafficking syndicate.
The District of Columbia Police Department has debunked the conspiracy theory and called it “fictitious.”
[Featured Image by Jose Luis Magana/AP Images]