Text messages sent by “Pizzagate” gunman Edgar Welch show he was prepared to kill when he entered a Washington, D.C. restaurant with a rifle on December 4, according to a criminal complaint released Tuesday.
Welch, 28, drove from his home in North Carolina to Comet Ping Pong in Washington, D.C. on December 4 where conspiracy theorists said a network of tunnels was used by powerful pedophiles linked to the Hillary Clinton campaign to conceal a child sex slave-ring. This theory was spread by the likes of conspiracy theorist kingpin Alex Jones of InfoWars and even the son of Donald Trump’s incoming national security adviser, General Michael Flynn.
Welch, armed with an AR-15 and .38-caliber pistol, entered the pizzeria and discharged the rifle before surrendering to police.
Before he arrived, Welch allegedly wrote in a text message to a friend that lives might be lost for his cause.
“Welch texted C. (used to refer to the other individual) and asked him if he was “down for the cause?” a special agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation wrote in an affidavit.
C. said it depended on what the cause was and Welch responded:
“Raiding a pedo ring, possibly sacraficing [sic] the lives of a few for the lives of many. Standing up against a corrupt system that kidnaps, tortures and rapes babies and children in our own backyard… defending the next generation of kids, our kids, from ever having to experience this kind of evil themselves[.]
“I’m sorry bro, but I’m tired of turning the channel and hoping someone does something and being thankful it’s not my family. One day it will be our families. The world is too afraid to act and I’m too stubborn not to[.]"
Welch reportedly told police after the incident that there wasn’t evidence of the alleged child-harboring inside of Comet. (“The intel on this wasn’t 100 percent,” he later told The New York Times from jail.)
Welch has been charged by feds with transporting a firearm with intent to harm across state lines, which carries a maximum prison penalty of ten years.
Officers obtained warrants to search Welch’s vehicle and phone subsequent to his arrest and discovered that he had used it to search a number of YouTube pages prior to the incident.
“Welch indicated that he had been researching “Pizzagate” and that it was making him “sick,” according to the complaint. Welch continued to search pages for hours on December 1 after sending a text message to his girlfriend, referred to in the complaint as “M.R.” At that time, Welch also allegedly went to Comet Ping Pong website.
The complaint also alleges that Welch was attempting to recruit “at least two other people to join him.”
“Shortly after 8:00 p.m.,” the complaint continues, Welch sent another text to a friend identified in the document as “B.” He sent him a link to a YouTube video about “Pizzagate” and included the note “Watch PIZZAGATE: The Bigger Picture on YouTube.”
Another friend, identified as “C,” was allegedly communicating with Welch as well and seemed to think that the plan the shooter had in mind was to go to the North Dakota Access Pipeline.
“At about 8:28 p.m., C texted Welch, “Tell me we r going to save the Indians from the pipeline,” the complaint reads. Welch then allegedly responded to him: “Way more important, much higher stakes” and “Pizzagate.” C wrote back: “Sounds like we r freeing some oppressed pizza from the hands of an evil pizza joint.” Welch replied with a vague “YouTube tonight, talk in AM.”
Shortly thereafter, C. told Welch via text message: “I’m in.”
On December 4, the day of the incident, Welch seemingly left home in the morning while his girlfriend was asleep. “M.R.,” the girlfriend, sent text messages that “became increasingly concerned as the day progressed.”
Also found on the phone was a video recorded while Welch was driving, in which he told family members that he loved them and hoped he had “showed it.” He also said that he hoped he would see them again.
Welch arrived at Comet Ping Pong by about 3 p.m. and entered the front door of the restaurant with an assault rifle across his chest. At the time, according to the complaint, an employee identified as “CW-1” was retrieving dough from a freezer in the alley. He said that he heard three loud bangs while outside but returned to the restaurant. CW-1 then saw Welch, who turned towards the witness and pointed the AR-15 in his direction. The employee immediately fled outside and found officers who had arrived on the scene.
In a subsequent statement to police, Welch said that he had told his girlfriend he “might be gone awhile.” He also told police that he looked for evidence of tunnels and hidden rooms in the restaurant and, at one point, tried to open a locked door with a butter knife before shooting it with the AR-15. After that was unsuccessful, Welch also allegedly climbed furniture to look into the room and discovered that it was unoccupied.
Welch also had a loaded shotgun in his car along with 14 rounds of ammunition.