Since the inception of the Hampstead SRA hoax in early 2015, parents, teachers, and clergy have lived with a terrifying possibility: that all the kidnapping and death threats spouted by promoters and followers of the hoax might take root and result in tragedy. “All it takes is one lunatic”, people have said—and with good reason.
Yesterday afternoon local time in Washington, D.C., police were called to Comet Ping Pong, the target of the “pizzagate” phony news story, where a gunman armed with an assault rifle was apprehended.
According to witnesses, the restaurant, popular with families, was full of customers at the time. Fortunately, no one was injured.
D.C. Police responding Sunday to a report of a gunman at a popular pizza restaurant in Northwest Washington detained a man armed with an assault rifle, according to a police spokeswoman.
D.C. police Chief Peter Newsham said a lone suspect in his 20s walked into the front door of Comet Ping Pong with an assault rifle. Newsham said it appeared as if the suspect may have fired one or multiple shots into the ground. The man has not yet been identified and his motives were not clear.
But Comet Ping Pong, a pizza restaurant on Connecticut Avenue with ping-pong tables that is popular with families, has been caught up in a wave of conspiracy theories and fake-news stories that spread during the presidential campaign that have prompted death threats to the restaurant and nearby businesses.
Startled patrons rushed out of the restaurant onto Connecticut Avenue, taking shelter in nearby businesses and remaining locked down for more than an hour.
Newsham said the license plates on the suspect’s car were not from D.C., Maryland or Virginia. Police said the man may have had an additional weapon, possibly handgun, in his car
Police received a call about a man with a weapon a just before 3 p.m., said Aquita Brown, a spokeswoman for the department.
She said there were no reports of injuries.
It’s not clear what motivated the suspect in Sunday’s incident. The restaurant, however, was swept up in the onslaught of fake news that was prevalent during the presidential campaign.The restaurant’s owner and employees were threatened on social media in the days before the election, the New York Times reported, after fake news stories circulated claiming that then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her campaign chief were running a child sex ring from the restaurant’s back rooms. None of it was true, but the fake stories and threats persisted, some even aimed at the employees’ children. The restaurant’s owner was forced to contact the FBI, local police, Facebook and other social media platforms in an effort to remove the articles.
Within an hour of reports beginning to emerge, conspiracy theorists had started screaming “false flag!”, claiming that the reports were either untrue, or were part of (yet another) conspiracy to discredit the conspiracy theorists (following all that?).
On Sunday, Washington Post reporters involved in reporting on the story were the target of online threats shortly after it posted.
What does this mean for Hampstead?
We think the relevance to Hoaxtead is pretty self-evident. We’ve discussed how some of the Hoaxtead mobsters have desperately jumped aboard the “pizzagate” fake news story as they try to breathe new life into the dying Hampstead hoax, and we’re all too familiar with what an upsurge in the hoax could mean.
Death threats are just another fact of life for anyone who disagrees that a cult of baby-eating, child-raping Satanists run an industrial-scale baby import business out of a church and school in a busy North London neighbourhood.
Here are just a couple, taken from a video posted by Aaron Dover:
If you have the stomach for it, check out the Trolls page on this blog for a nice cross-section of death threats we’ve received in the year and a half since we took this blog online.
Now, imagine that someone like the Washington suspect reads one of those threats and decides to make good on it. Not a pretty thought, but it’s one the people of Hampstead cope with daily.
Yesterday’s gunman only serves to underline a point we’ve all been screaming from the rooftops since Ella and Sabine published the names and personal information of Hampstead residents online: all it takes is one crazy person with a weapon to tip this thing from madness into tragedy.
Update: Shooter identified
According to The Washington Post, the shooter has now been identified as 28-year-old Edgar Maddison Welch, of Salisbury, N.C. He “walked in the front door of Comet Ping Pong and pointed a firearm in the direction of a restaurant employee. The employee was able to flee and notify police. Police said Welch proceeded to discharge the rifle inside the restaurant”.
“The man told police he had come to the restaurant to “self-investigate” an election-related conspiracy theory involving Hillary Clinton that spread online during her presidential campaign”.
“Police said in addition to the assault rifle, they also recovered two firearms inside the restaurant; an additional weapon was recovered in Welch’s car. Bomb-sniffing dogs and at least one armored vehicle were present at the scene”.