Fortunately for all involved, Edgar M. Welch surrendered to police before anyone was injured. Still, the man who took it upon himself to find out whether a popular Washington D.C. pizza restaurant was a front for a child sex slavery ring committed very real and very dangerous crimes even if the basis of his investigation was fake news.
In the criminal complaint, filed in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and included below, you can see the crimes Welch is charged with, along with an account of his arrest and what he told officers regarding his motives.
Fake News, Real Crimes
Welch, who entered the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria with a loaded AR-15 assault rifle and fired off three rounds before searching the premises for child sex slaves, is charged with four crimes:
Carrying a Rifle or a Shotgun: For bringing the AR-15 into the pizzeria;
Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm: For firing the AR-15 within the pizzeria;
Assault with a Dangerous Weapon: For firing the weapon near an employee of the pizzeria; and
Carrying a Pistol Without a License: For also having a loaded .38 handgun in his car.
All told, Welch is looking at over 15 years in prison, if convicted.
Welch told arresting officers he had been compelled to drive six hours from his home North Carolina to the D.C.-area pizza parlor because "he had read online that the Comet restaurant was harboring child sex slaves and that he wanted to see for himself if they were there." The conspiracy theory, thoroughly debunked by major media outlets and internet sleuths, began in October 2016 and allegedly involved Hillary Clinton and her former presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta.
After clearing out Comet Ping Pong with three shots and searching the place himself, Welch surrendered to police, saying he "found no evidence that underage children were being harbored in the restaurant." You can read the full criminal complaint below.