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Suspect in Arson at ‘Pizzagate' Restaurant Arrested During Caught-on-Camera Brawl With Officers at Monument

Video obtained by News4 shows two officers trying to restrain a man at the base of the Monument as he fights back wildly

A man suspected of setting fire to the D.C. pizzeria at the center of the false "Pizzagate" conspiracy theory has been arrested after a caught-on-camera brawl with officers at the Washington Monument.

Ryan Rimas Jaselskis, 22, was charged on Wednesday with arson. Federal prosecutors say that on Jan. 23, Jaselskis started a fire inside Comet Ping Pong — the subject of fake right-wing Internet rumors about prominent Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, harboring child sex slaves at the restaurant.

U.S. Park Police caught up with him on Feb. 5, after prosecutors say he climbed the fence around the Washington Monument. 

Video obtained by News4 shows two officers trying to restrain a man at the base of the Monument as he fights back wildly. The man appears to punch at the officers. He falls at least twice and gets back up.

"Get on the ground!" an officer can be heard ordering the man.

An officer runs at him with a baton, but he continues to resist. Finally, an officer uses a stun gun on the man. He brings his hand to his chest and then falls backward.

Federal investigators said a man went into Comet Ping Pong about 9:30 p.m. Jan. 23 and set the curtains on fire. Nobody was hurt. The suspect remained on the loose.

D.C.'s Arson Task Force released surveillance video of the suspect in a blue-and-white jacket walking into the pizzeria. One of the videos shows him trying to knock down or destroy a camera while a fire burns in the background.

In court Wednesday, prosecutors revealed authorities caught up with Jaselskis more than a week after the fire.

According to court documents, Jaselskis climbed the fence around the Washington Monument on Feb. 4 and again on Feb. 5, when he was arrested.

According to prosecutors, when paramedics arrived, they recognized Jaselskis as the Comet Ping Pong arson suspect.

Comet Ping Pong rose to national attention in December 2016 when another man, Edward Maddison Welch, of North Carolina, went into the restaurant with an AR-15 assault rifle and a revolver. 

Welch was motivated by a fake conspiracy theory that the restaurant was harboring child sex slaves.

Welch stormed through the restaurant as diners and staff fled in terror, leaving behind half-eaten pizzas and cups of soda.

At one point, he fired an AR-15 at a locked closet. But he discovered there were no children being held in the restaurant. He surrendered and was later sentenced to four years in prison.

It wasn't immediately clear why Jaselskis allegedly targeted Comet Ping Pong, or whether he believed in the "Pizzagate" conspiracy theory. 

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