Gunman charged after threatening DC restaurant hit by fake news

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A man who took a rifle into a Washington pizza restaurant on Sunday "to self-investigate" a fake news report that it was operating a child abuse ring has been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, police in the U.S. capital said.

Washington's Metropolitan Police Department said in a statement that Edgar Maddison Welch, 28, of Salisbury, North Carolina, was charged after the incident at Comet Ping Pong restaurant in Washington near the Maryland border on Sunday afternoon.

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Gunman enters pizza shop named in fake Clinton story
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Gunman enters pizza shop named in fake Clinton story
Suspect at #cometpizza apprehended great job @DCPoliceDept https://t.co/NfEdHfHh5v
The suspect in #CometPingPong incident, Edgar Welch, also allegedly the driver who hit a teenage pedestrian in Oct https://t.co/wBsVV3hUDo
Police: N.C. man went to D.C. pizzeria with assault rifle to "self-investigate" election-related conspiracy theory https://t.co/enjMhNO5bQ
DC police: Comet Ping Pong suspect is Edgar Maddison Welch of Salisbury, NC who said he came to investigate "pizzag… https://t.co/O4JXrPX3Vz
According to a DC police source, cops did recover two weapons at the Comet Ping Pong scene. https://t.co/CEYCeisKas
Police still clearing the block #cometpizza https://t.co/QMVm396FZk
According to NYT Comet Pizza is not a child-trafficking site: https://t.co/8AnDxZSpY3 Just a beloved "fake news".… https://t.co/OHqb5VFhIE
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The suspect entered the restaurant and pointed a gun at a restaurant employee, who fled and notified authorities, police said. The man then discharged the weapon inside the restaurant. There were no injuries.

Two weapons were found inside the restaurant and a third one was recovered from the man's vehicle, police added.

They said the suspect during an interview with investigators "revealed that he came to the establishment to self-investigate 'Pizza Gate' (a fictitious online conspiracy theory)," the police statement said.

Last month, media outlets including the Washington Post and New York Times, reported about death threats against the owner of the restaurant after internet postings said the restaurant was operating a child abuse ring led by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her top campaign aide.

Police said there was no active investigation of child abuse allegations there. The attack on Comet was considered an example of how fake news reports that proliferated during the election year affected people's lives.

A Reuters witness at the restaurant with his 1-year-old child said it was crowded when the gunman entered, with many families dining.

The Reuters witness who was inside Comet at around 3 p.m. ET said he was paying his bill when he saw a man entering the restaurant's front door. "It appeared to us he had a long rifle with him. We scattered," he said.

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