Viral video leads to assault investigation at restaurant

Viral video leads to assault investigation at UT Strip restaurant

Video of the fight was posted online. (source: YouTube) Video of the fight was posted online. (source: YouTube)
Antonio Burkhart was one of the people involved in the fight. Antonio Burkhart was one of the people involved in the fight.

6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Police are investigating a possible assault after video of a fight at a restaurant on the UT Strip began making the rounds on the Internet.

The Knoxville Police Department says it received more than one tip on Sunday that two men had been assaulted at Cook Out, 2135 Cumberland Avenue.

A video of the fight has been making the rounds on social media. According to KPD, the fight happened Friday around 1:30 a.m.

Police identified three suspects Monday and called them in for questioning.

Antonio Burkhart was one of the people involved in the fight. He and two others were asked to come to KPD for an interview and afterwards, Burkhart spoke to 6 News about what happened.

"I had went back to retrieve my jacket, and I was stopped by a girl telling me to pull my pants up, and I told her I was not bothering her and to stay out of my business. Her boyfriend had got up and slapped a soda out of my hand and then my brothers reacted to that," explained Burkhart.

Burkhart said it escalated quickly.

"When he slapped by drink out of my hand he called me [the N-word] and my brother did not like that at all," Burkhart said.

It's difficult to tell in the video what words were exchanged, but at one point the blonde in a black jacket says, "We're not trying to fight."

Burkhart can be seen trying to calm down his friend who he identifies as Tank. More words are exchange,d and that's when the blonde is hit and falls to the ground.

The guy identified as Tank then begins hitting a guy in a burgundy shirt identified by police as University of Tennessee student John Buntin, 19.

Buntin is hit at least nine times.

"He required hospitalization, he actually received serious injuries," said KPD spokesperson Darrell Debusk.

Debusk said they never received a 911 call from Cook Out.

"It's unfortunate we did not receive a call from the business indicating they had a problem. Obviously you see just a small portion of the video. Our understanding is an argument had been going on for some time before the fight, probably long enough for us to have responded and prevented the assault from occurring," Debusk said.

Debusk said it's helpful to have the video because it gives a clear picture of what happened.

"Obviously you see two individuals that get assaulted," Debusk said.

Burkhart said he feels they were justified because he claims the other boy used a racial slur.

"When I watched it, I kind of think they deserved what they got because of how they did the situation. I don't want anyone to get in trouble over this because it was just an altercation them against us," Burkhart said.

Debusk says its clear who the aggressors are and now it's up to the district attorney to file charges. He said charges, including aggravated assault, could be filed sometime Wednesday against the three suspects.

6 News spoke with Buntin over the phone. He said he was doing okay, but other than that, he didn't want to comment.

6 News also reached out to Cook Out's corporate office. We have not received a response.

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