Fake news story leads to real threat at DC pizza joint

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WASHINGTON — Talk about a cheesy conspiracy theory! The one known as #PIZZAGATE delivered big-time panic at D.C.'s  Comet Ping Pong pizza joint Sunday evening.

Lee Elmore witnessed the whole thing. “One of the hosts runs up and was like, did you see that guy, he had a big gun."

That guy was a 28-year-old from North Carolina.

According to police, Edgar Welch had an assault rifle and fired at least one shot. No one was hurt, thanks to some quick-thinking employees who managed to get everyone out as police showed up.

"The first couple of police officers had their guns drawn including automatic rifles,” Sathi Soma said. “And after a while, the suspect came out."

Police say Welch admitted he was there to investigate a news story that surfaced before the election claiming Hillary Clinton and her campaign chief were running a child sex trafficking ring in the back room.

Just like pizza dough, that story was tossed. It was a total fake! Even so, a lot of people believed it.  Welch clearly went too far.  Now he's facing assault with a dangerous weapon charge.

Comet Ping Pong's owner James Alefantis issued a statement condemning those who spread malicious rumors.

“For now, I will simply say that we should all condemn the efforts of certain people to spread malicious and utterly false accusations about Comet Ping Pong, a venerated DC institution. Let me state unequivocally: these stories are completely and entirely false, and there is no basis in fact to any of them. What happened demonstrates that promoting false and reckless conspiracy theories comes with consequences.”

Like a really screwed-up pizza order, sometimes conspiracy theorists can be several slices shy of a whole deep-dish pie!