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bizarre crime

Police: Gunman inside D.C. pizza place says he was investigating fake story

Authorities say on Sunday afternoon a North Carolina man walked into a Washington, D.C., pizza parlor that has been the subject of a false conspiracy theory and fired at least one shot.

Police have identified the suspect as Edgar Maddison Welch, 28, of Salisbury, North Carolina. He allegedly walked into Comet Ping Pong carrying an assault rifle, and pointed the firearm in the direction of an employee, police said. The employee was able to run away, and notified authorities. After firing at least one shot, Welch was arrested without incident, and told police he was there to "self-investigate" Pizza Gate, a bizarre fake story that spread across the internet before the election, claiming that Comet Ping Pong was the epicenter of a child sex slave ring organized by Hillary Clinton and her former campaign manager, CBS News reports. Authorities found two firearms inside the building, as well as an additional weapon inside Welch's vehicle. He has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

Owner James Alefantis said he believes the story was started because he was a Clinton supporter. Over the past several months, he has received thousands of threats, and in late November, police found two women on the Comet Ping Pong patio who said they were looking for underground tunnels used to transport children "so they can do these rituals," adding that they were "putting a lot of curses and spells over the city."