Edgar Maddison Welch, 28 of Salisbury, N.C., surrenders to police Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, in Washington. (Sathi Soma via AP)
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The bizarre rumors began with a leaked email referring to Hillary Clinton and sinister interpretations of pizza parties. It morphed into fake online news stories about a child sex trafficking ring run by Democrats operating out of a Washington, D.C., restaurant.Sunday, it culminated in violence when police say a North Carolina man fired an assault rifle inside the Comet Ping Pong restaurant as he attempted to "self-investigate" the conspiracy theory known in the Twitterverse as "Pizzagate". One of those people posting on the conspiracy theory is the son of President-elect Donald Trump's proposed national security adviser.Court records made public Monday state Welch fired an AR-15 assault rifle multiple times in the restaurant but later walked out with his hands up and unarmed, leaving his weapons inside.Holtorf described Welch as "a well-educated man" and "not a conspiracy nut," saying he would talk about his daughters and how proud he was of them.At least one person who isn't ready to give up on the conspiracy theory is prominently connected to Trump's transition team.Wiktoria Skrzypinska lives a few blocks from Comet. She said she had heard the rumors about Comet but was shocked to learn that somebody had become so enmeshed in the conspiracy theory to enter the restaurant with an assault rifle.
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