Takeaways From The New York Times Interview With the 'Pizzagate' Gunman

Edgar Maddison Welch allegedly opened fire in a D.C. pizza restaurant.

ByABC News
December 8, 2016, 1:13 PM

— -- Three days after Edgar Maddison Welch allegedly opened fire in a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant, he spoke to The New York Times about the conspiracy known as “Pizzagate” and his intentions this past weekend.

On Sunday, Welch told the Times, he drove 350 miles from his home in North Carolina to Washington, D.C., in order to look into claims -- proven to be fictitious -- that Comet Ping Pong, a restaurant in the capital, housed a child slavery ring.

After entering the restaurant with an AR-15-style rifle and a .38 caliber handgun, firing at least one shot, and finding no evidence to corroborate the allegations he came to investigate, Welch surrendered to police, according to court documents.

Today, a judge granted his attorney’s request that Welch’s preliminary hearing be delayed until next week, so the defense has more time to conduct its own investigation into the events. Welch will remain in custody at least through the weekend.

Welch spoke to the Times via videoconference Wednesday, his only conversation with the news media since his arrest. Here are a few takeaways from their conversation:

He Said He First Learned of 'Pizzagate' Through Word of Mouth

Welch says he only recently got internet service in his house in Salisbury, North Carolina, and that his first contact with the conspiracy theory came through word of mouth. Internet message boards such as 4chan and Reddit, along with fake news websites, have received the brunt of the public blame for the spread of Pizzagate.

Welch says that upon accessing the internet he did “look into it” himself and he said his interest multiplied as he discovered additional stories. He told the Times that he did not have confidence in conventional news outlets, some of which previously covered and debunked the Comet story, and that he is a listener of Alex Jones, a radio host and outspoken conspiracy theorist.

His Plan Intensified as He Drove to Washington

On Sunday, Welch first planned simply to “shine some light” on what he believed was happening at Comet Ping Pong. But on his drive to Washington, he told the Times, his “heart [was] breaking over the thought of innocent people suffering,"

The police report of the incident states that Welch claims he was armed “to help rescue” any children he discovered at the restaurant.

He Didn’t Vote for Trump or Clinton

Though the Pizzagate conspiracy claims, falsely, that Hillary Clinton and her presidential campaign chair John Podesta are at the center of the slavery ring housed at Comet, Welch said his aims were not political and that he voted neither for Hillary Clinton nor President-elect Donald Trump.

He Has Regrets

“The intel on this wasn’t 100 percent,” Welch told the Times. “I regret how I handled the situation.”

He said he recently became religious and has bible verses tattooed on his body, and that in the aftermath of his arrest, his two daughters “are in [his] thoughts every second of the day.”

ABC News' Geneva Sands contributed to this report.