SHREVEPORT, La. — A Louisiana man has pleaded guilty to telephoning a Washington, D.C., pizzeria in December and threatening to shoot those inside, authorities said Thursday.
The threats followed a shooting three days earlier at another D.C. pizza shop that was the target of a fake news story that went viral about a child sex ring.
According to U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley, Yusif Lee Jones, 52, of Shreveport called the Besta Pizza shop in Washington on Dec. 7 and said he was trying to “save the kids” and threatened to “shoot everyone in the place,” according to testimony at the guilty plea.
An investigation by the Washington Metropolitan Police Department and the FBI traced the call to Jones in Shreveport. Jones admitted to making the threatening call and was arrested.
Jones pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. to one count of interstate threatening communications.
Jones faces up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, restitution and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date of April 12 was set.
The Louisiana arrest followed an incident in which a North Carolina man opened fire inside the Comet Ping Pong pizza restaurant in Washington while pursuing the fictitious online conspiracy.
Edgar Maddison Welch, 28, allegedly was reacting to a baseless conspiracy theory that the restaurant was a front for a child sex ring operated by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. The information had been part of a fake news campaign targeting Clinton before and after the general election.
Welch faces a federal charge of transporting a firearm across state lines with the intent to commit a crime. If convicted, Welch faces a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison.
Contributing: USA TODAY, WUSA-TV, Washington
The (Shreveport, La.) Times