Comet Ping Pong case moving to federal court

WASHINGTON — Four charges against Edgar Maddison Welch in the Comet Ping Pong case have been dismissed in D.C. Superior Court. Instead, the case is moving to federal court.

Late Tuesday morning, federal prosecutors have charged Welch with a felony — interstate transportation of a firearm with intent to commit an offense or with knowledge or reasonable cause to believe that an offense would be committed.

If convicted, the statutory maximum penalty is 10 years in prison, with the possibility of fines.

Earlier Tuesday, Welch appeared briefly in Superior Court. The North Carolina man had neatly trimmed his hair and beard since his last court appearance Dec. 8.

Welch’s parents Terri and Harry sat in the second row of the gallery in Superior Court. They declined comment after the hearing.

Welch could be in federal court later Tuesday afternoon.

Police and prosecutors have said on Dec. 4, Welch went into the D.C. restaurant and fired an AR-15 rifle multiple times inside. No one was hurt.

He told police “he had read online that the Comet restaurant was harboring child sex slaves,” and he wanted to investigate, according to court documents.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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