UPDATED: Man With Rifle Arrested at Comet Pizza in DC; POLICE Now Say Gunman ‘Investigating’ PizzaGate Theories

(9 p.m. CST update: Police now say the gunman told them he was ‘self-investigating’ PizzaGate.) A man with a rifle was reportedly taken into custody near the Comet Ping Pong pizza restaurant that has been targeted by the #PizzaGate conspiracy theory. There are no reports of injuries or shots fired. UPDATE: Report shots were fired: More at end of article: D.C. police say no apparent connection to PizzaGate controversy.

Washington Post update:

A North Carolina man was arrested Sunday after he walked into a popular pizza restaurant in Northwest Washington carrying an assault rifle and fired one or more shots, D.C. police said. The man told police he had come to the restaurant to “self-investigate” an election-related conspiracy theory involving Hillary Clinton that spread online during her presidential campaign.

The incident caused panic, with several businesses going into lockdown as police swarmed the neighborhood after receiving the call shortly before 3 p.m.

Police said 28-year-old Edgar Maddison Welch, of Salisbury, N.C., walked in the front door of Comet Ping Pong and pointed a firearm in the direction of a restaurant employee. The employee was able to flee and notify police. Police said Welch proceeded to discharge the rifle inside the restaurant.”

“#Breaking: Suspect in Comet Ping Pong incident fired more than one shot inside, but no patrons hurt “

“@asmamk guy just walked in comet Pizza with shotgun”

“Uh, there’s a guy with a gun at Comet pizza apparently. Just saw SWAT run by.”

https://twitter.com/KirbyReitz/status/805511895377711104

“Was walking to CVS when people came out of Comet Pizza. Employee mentioned possible gunmen. Serious police presence within minutes.”

“Suspect at #cometpizza apprehended great job @DCPoliceDept”

“#Breaking : Major police presence near #comet pizza in #Northwest DC near the corner of Connecticut and Nebraska. Man arrested.”

D.C. police confirmed the man was arrested but had been inside Comet befoe being taken into custody.

“Update: suspect armed w/ assault rifle taken into custody.”

“BREAKING: DC Police confirm armed suspect was INSIDE Comet Ping Pong before being apprehended.”

The PizzaGate conspiracy theory blossomed in the latter days of the presidential election. It alleges a major pedophile ring involving leading Washington, D.C. politicos is centered around the restaurant. The restaurant owner James Alefantis has denied the charges.

The BBC described the origins of the conspiracy theory (more at the source link.)

…In early November, as Wikileaks steadily released piles of emails from Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta, one contact caught the attention of prankster sites and people on the paranoid fringes.

James Alefantis is the owner of Comet Ping Pong, a pizza restaurant in Washington. He’s also a big Democratic Party supporter and raised money for both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. He was once in a relationship with David Brock, an influential liberal operative.

Alefantis – who’s never met Clinton – appeared in the Podesta emails in connection with the fundraisers.
And from these thin threads, an enormous trove of conspiracy fiction was spun…”

UPDATE: Video of eyewitnesses posted by Washington Post reporter Faiz Siddiqui.

“Witnesses who were sitting down for lunch at Comet describe the scene when a gunman walked in”

MORE VIDEO posted by FOX5’s @jeffgep:

“#Breaking : new video from scene at #cometpizza @fox5dc”

“#Breaking update : #DC police still on the scene of #cometpizza @fox5dc #fox5dc @MarinaMarraco”

VIDEO FROM AN EYEWITNESS:

https://twitter.com/lucienzeigler/status/805532951001894912

“I was sitting in the front of the Comet Ping Pong, inside. The man entered with a rifle but walked past us, and we fled on foot.”

Udates from WUSA-TV’ Debra Alfarone:

“#DC Police Chief Peter Newsham says man walked into Comet Ping Pong & fired into the ground – more than 1 shot. @wusa9”

#DC Police: re man with long gun at Comet Ping Pong – don’t think it’s terrorist related – don’t know motive. @wusa9″

#DC Police man who walked into Comet Ping Pong w/gun drove car to area that was NOT registered in DC/MD/VA @wusa9″

NEW: #DC Police say nothing to suggest man w/gun at Comet Ping Pong had anything to do with #pizzagate threats. @wusa9″

#DC Police Acting Chief Peter Newsham says “nobody was threatened or injured” after man walked into Comet Ping Pong w/ long gun. @wusa9″

#DC Police act. Chief Newsham says of Comet Ping Pong suspect, “there’s been a number of threats on social media, it’s not related to that””

#DC Police say Comet Ping Pong suspect is in his late 20s @wusa9″

[email protected] press release on arrest of Edgar Maddison Welch, 28, of Salisbury, NC for assault w/dangerous weapon at Comet restaurant. pic.twitter.com/IkSJUeHM2y”

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