The courts have sentenced Edgar Maddison Welch, 28, to four years in prison, after he was convicted of firing an AR-15 inside of a Washington, D.C., pizzeria. He committed this crime after reading a conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton, according to NBC News.
Welch pleaded guilty to interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition—a federal offense—in addition to assault in March. Prosecutors stated that an armed Welch stormed the restaurant after learning of “Pizzagate,” an internet rumor that claimed the eatery operated as a child sex-trafficking ring that serviced top-ranking Democrats.
Pizzagate was born on a pro-Trump Reddit board called “The Donald.” According to Snopes, users of that forum alleged “the existence of a secret society of pedophiles operating through a pizza place loosely connected to Clinton associate David Brock.” However, as Snopes pointed out, the “theory” was widely debunked and is considered untrue.
Welch drove from North Carolina to D.C.’s Comet Ping Pong to investigate the incendiary claims. According to BBC, the 28-year-old fired his assault rifle into a locked cabinet in his fruitless search for abused children.
Federal Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson noted that while the 28-year-old didn’t physically hurt anyone, his actions “literally left psychological wreckage.”
Since the incident, Comet Ping Pong has disconnected their phones and hired security, due to ongoing harassment.
“It was never my intention to harm or frighten innocent lives, but I realize now just how foolish and reckless my decision was,” Welch wrote in a sentencing memo.
Defense lawyers unsuccessfully requested an 18-month stay behind bars, arguing the father of two was remorseful and had taken responsibility for his actions.
WTOP has reported that Welch will be placed on three years of probation after completing his sentence. He was also ordered to pay $5,744 in restitution for property damage caused by the shooting.
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