West Bottoms restaurant owner behind bars, charged for allegedly beating up ex-girlfriend

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KANSAS CITY,  Mo -- A well-known restaurant owner is behind bars on Friday.

Brian Smith, owner of Rockstar Burgers in the West Bottoms, is charged with domestic assault and armed criminal action for allegedly beating up his ex-girlfriend.

FOX4 has previously reported on troubling police calls to the restaurant, which was open 24/7. Rockstar Burgers and its owner have drawn quite a bit of scrutiny at times, recently reaching a fevered pitch.

For weeks, protesters have been on the streets of Kansas City and at Rockstar Burgers, demanding police arrest and prosecutors charge Smith with crimes, after rumors about the 42-year-old began swirling on social media, including a photo allegedly of his ex-girlfriend with a serious head injury.

"Do these charges stem from a picture of the one with a gash on her head that was circulating on social media?" FOX4's Shannon O'Brien asked Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd, who replied, "I will tell you that our victim had a gash on her head, that police observed that. They took their own pictures of that, so our victim did say that Brian Smith had beat her in the head with a handgun."

Zahnd, who filed charges in Platte County, said on November 24, Smith showed up where his ex-girlfriend was living in Parkville, and while she was sleeping, Smith allegedly burst through her locked bedroom door and began beating her with a handgun which he regularly carried in his waist band.

"Domestic violence crimes are very, very serious," Zahnd said. "There is a reason the legislature has elevated those above other sorts of assaults, and that`s because that`s a relationship we want to protect."

King Lewis also known as "Chef Scratch" was the manager of Rockstar Burgers sat down with FOX4 last week for an exclusive interview the day Smith abruptly announced the restaurant's closing social media. He spoke about the social media rumors before any charges were filed.

"I don`t believe the devil that they say he is, but then again, I don`t talk to him on that level," Scratch said. "I talk to him on a business level. His personal life and business life is two separate things from what I know."

A social media post by Smith indicated he was closing the restaurant because the online rumors about him were becoming too much.

"The business has been shut down off of social media threatening his son, his mother, his family. So as him being a man and protector of his family, he decided to shut everything down," Scratch said. "It is hurting 24 to 25 people. Twenty-five families, you know, especially at the holiday season."

As the social media rumor mill continues to swirl, police sources say there is also an ongoing KCPD investigation into allegations of activity that may have happened in the Rockstar Burgers building where Smith lives.

When asked about that, Zhand said, "I know there has been a lot of discussion about other possible investigations. Those may or may not be ongoing, but nothing else has been presented to our office."

If you feel you have been a victim of Brian Smith, police ask that you contact the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.

Smith is in the Platte County jail, held without bond. He is expected to appear in court next week.

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