‘Pizzagate’ gunman sentenced to four years in prison, as prosecutors urged judge to deter vigilante justice

The North Carolina man who commandeered a pizza restaurant at gunpoint in Northwest Washington to investigate a false Internet rumor of a pedophile ring there was sentenced to four years in in prison Thursday.

Edgar Maddison Welch, 28, who apologized to his victims and residents in the nation’s capital last week in a court filing, asked for an 18-month sentence for charging into Comet Ping Pong last December carrying a fully loaded AR-15 military-style rifle and revolver seeking to investigate a viral Internet rumor known as “Pizzagate.”

Prosecutors had sought a 4½ -year prison term.

False stories propagated a conspiracy theory that linked Hillary Clinton to an alleged child-sex-trafficking ring run from the family restaurant, where Clinton’s presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta, occasionally dined.

During the sentencing hearing, assistant U.S. attorneys Demian S. Ahn held up the rifle used by Welch and told the judge it had been part of an “armed invasion” and part of a campaign of “vicious harassment and unfounded rumors.”