Court docs: Pizzagate gunman tried to recruit friends, said he was 'raiding a pedo ring'

FILE- In this Dec. 4, 2016, file photo, Edgar Maddison Welch, 28 of Salisbury, N.C., surrenders to police in Washington. Welch, who fired an assault riffle multiple times inside a pizza restaurant in the nation's capital while investigating an internet conspiracy theory is expected in court Tuesday, Dec. 13, for a hearing on whether he should stay in jail while he awaits trial. (Sathi Soma via AP, File)

Court documents show that the man charged with firing a gun inside of Comet Ping Pong in the name of the conspiracy theory dubbed "Pizzagate" tried to recruit friends to join him in "raiding a pedo ring."

Police and prosecutors say that on Dec. 4 at about 3 p.m., Edgar Maddison Welch went into the pizza restaurant in Northwest D.C. with an AR-15 rifle across his chest, alarming customers and employees. He fired the rifle multiple times inside while people ran outside. He was also carrying a .38 caliber revolver and later told officers he had a shotgun in his car outside, a Toyota Prius. No one was hurt.

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

Arriving D.C. police officers determined from witnesses that no one was still inside other than Welch. Officers formed a perimeter around the restaurant. At about 3:24 p.m., Welch walked outside, leaving his guns inside, with his hands in the air.

Welch later told officers that he had found no evidence of child trafficking so he put down his guns and went outside to surrender.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia charged Welch with "interstate transportation of a firearm with intent to commit an offense of with knowledge or reasonable cause to believe that an offense would be committed," according to a spokesperson. Welch faces a maximum prison penalty of 10 years, with a potential of financial penalties.

The full charging documents can be viewed here:

According to court documents, in the days before traveling to Washington, Welch reached out to friends via text messages about joining him to "self-investigate" the conspiracy theory.

After a phone call on December 1 between Welch and a friend called “C.” in the documents, the two exchanged text messages.

"Tell me we r going to save the Indians from the pipeline," C. texted Welch at 8:28 p.m.,,
Welch responded, "Way more important, much higher stakes" and "Pizzagate."
C. wrote, "Sounds like we r freeing some oppressed pizza from the hands of an evil pizza joint." Welch replied, "Youtube tonight, talk in AM."

One of his friends asked what "cause" Welch was asking him to join.

"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 also recorded himself possibly saying goodbye to family, according to the documents, on his way to Comet Ping Pong.

According to text messages between Welch and his girlfriend, “M.R.” that started at about 8:42 a.m.., he had left while M.R. was still sleeping, leaving his children with her. She is not a parent of the children. Her messages to him showed increasing concern over the course of the day.

Welch told M.R. that he “might be gone awhile.”

While he was apparently driving to Washington, Welch recorded a selfie video on his cell phone with a time stamp of 11;06 a.m., according to the court documents:

The phone camera was aimed at WELCH, who looked into the camera and told family members that he loved them; that he hoped that he had "showed it"; and that he hoped that he would be able to "tell [them] again." "And if not," he told them "don't ever forget it."
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