WASHINGTON (ABC7) — It was a packed house Friday evening at Comet Ping Pong in Van Ness despite a mystery man setting fire to a curtain inside the popular pizza parlor Wednesday.
The ATF is now pushing a person of interest flyer showing that white man, seemingly in his 20s, with blonde hair, a mustache and beard. The ATF referred to the case as an "arson investigation."
A restaurant employee told ABC7 News that the unknown man bought three beers, paid with a credit card, and tipped more than 20 percent. He then allegedly set that thick, black curtain on fire, and left behind a diaper and baby food, seemingly nodding to a debunked conspiracy theory linking Comet to an underground child sex ring led by Hillary Clinton.
That same false narrative led a North Carolina man to open fire at Comet Ping Pong back in 2016.
"One of the things I learned while I was in school was how to do research and how to search for the truth, and people don't do that anymore, they just take hearsay and they just run with it," said Mary Farrah.
A marked DC Police vehicle was parked out front of Comet for the majority of Friday evening, serving both as a deterrent to would-be troublemakers and safety net for customers..
"I thought we were over this, I thought this was a done deal," said Melissa May of Alexandria as she waited to be seated with her friend. "I really think they should take [the arsonist] for some psychological evaluations and counseling."
ABC7 asked the Comet employee if the person of interest paid with a credit card, if law enforcement had his name. The employee declined to comment, but did share that workers are growing increasingly worried about if or when the next deranged individual will walk through the family establishment's front door.