Comet Ping Pong reopens after shooting spurred by conspiracy

Comet Ping Pong reopened to the public Tuesday, two days after a man is accused of opening fire inside.  (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Comet Ping Pong reopened to the public Tuesday, two days after a man is accused of opening fire inside. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

Signs of support and flowers were still outside Comet Ping Pong as it reopened Tuesday. 
(WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Signs of support and flowers were still outside Comet Ping Pong as it reopened Tuesday. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

Signs of support and flowers were still outside Comet Ping Pong as it reopened Tuesday. 
(WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Signs of support and flowers were still outside Comet Ping Pong as it reopened Tuesday. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

Edgar Maddison Welch, 28 of Salisbury, N.C., surrenders to police Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, in Washington. Welch, who said he was investigating a conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton running a child sex ring out of a pizza place, fired an assault rifle inside the restaurant on Sunday injuring no one, police and news reports said. (Sathi Soma via AP)
Edgar Maddison Welch, 28 of Salisbury, N.C., surrenders to police Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, in Washington. Welch, who said he was investigating a conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton running a child sex ring out of a pizza place, fired an assault rifle inside the restaurant on Sunday injuring no one, police and news reports said. (Sathi Soma via AP)

Comet Pin Pong
Comet Ping Pong pizza shop, is seen through the glass door in Washington, Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. A fake news story prompted a man to fire a rifle inside a popular Washington, D.C., pizza place as he attempted to “self-investigate” a conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring from there, police said. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

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Comet Ping Pong reopened to the public Tuesday, two days after a man is accused of opening fire inside.  (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Signs of support and flowers were still outside Comet Ping Pong as it reopened Tuesday. 
(WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Signs of support and flowers were still outside Comet Ping Pong as it reopened Tuesday. 
(WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Edgar Maddison Welch, 28 of Salisbury, N.C., surrenders to police Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, in Washington. Welch, who said he was investigating a conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton running a child sex ring out of a pizza place, fired an assault rifle inside the restaurant on Sunday injuring no one, police and news reports said. (Sathi Soma via AP)
Comet Pin Pong

WASHINGTON — A pizzeria in Northwest D.C. that has been the target of a fake election-related news story has reopened Tuesday, two days after a North Carolina man is accused of shooting a firearm inside, claiming to “self-investigate” the conspiracy theory.

No one was hurt in the shooting Sunday, but 28-year-old Edgar Welch was arrested at the scene and has been charged in connection to it. Welch told police he went to Comet Ping Pong to investigate unfounded claims of a child sex ring connected to Hillary Clinton’s campaign that gained momentum online. According to charging documents presented in court Monday, Welch was armed as part of a rescue attempt.

Shortly after the pizza place reopened, owner James Alefantis said, “We’ve been completely overwhelmed and incredibly, incredibly touched by the support of our community here in Washington and around the world, and we look forward to serving you for many years to come.”

He also praised his employees who helped keep customers safe on Sunday.

“These are people who are hardworking, incredibly wonderful, generous people who work closely with each other, with their community, with the customers. I could not be more proud of them,” Alefantis said.

Trevor Young and Jackie Greenbaum were among returning patrons eager to support the pizzeria and its owner.

“I love him and he’s got a great joint. It’s ridiculous how this thing has spiraled out,” said Young.

“I’m thrilled they’re open; I can’t wait to get inside to get something to eat. I want some pizza,” Greenbaum added.

Another customer, Lisa Matanson, added, “This is a neighborhood business and I want to support it, and I want to support (neighboring businesses) Politics & Prose and also The Little Red Fox. So I’m going to make sure these don’t become the subject of some ill-advised campaign that’s misinformed.”

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter and anchor at WTOP.

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