'Top Chef' Alum Justin Sutherland Arrested After Alleged Domestic Violence Incident

'I am innocent of these charges and look forward to using the judicial system to prove my innocence,' the 'Fast Foodies' star said.

Celebrity chef and reality TV star Justin Sutherland was arrested in St. Paul, Minnesota on Friday, June 28 following an alleged domestic violence incident. The Top Chef alum, 39, is charged with one count of felony threats of violence – reckless disregard risk after he allegedly threatened to shoot his girlfriend and squeezed her neck, according to WCCO.

The incident began on the evening of June 28 when the victim called 911 claiming her boyfriend choked her and was trying to kick her out of the apartment. The woman did not provide Sutherland's name at the time "because she did not want to get anyone in trouble," and told responding officers that she and Sutherland "had a disagreement about something stupid." No arrests were made at that time.

A little more than an hour later, police were dispatched to the address a second time when officers responded to reports of a male suspect outside a building with a gun in his hand and a female individual who "appeared to be in distress" just after 8 p.m. local time. A second caller reported that she was on a video call with her sister, who said her boyfriend was trying to kill her.

When officers arrived at the scene, the victim told them that she and Sutherland, who was located walking out of the rear of the building, got into an argument when he told her that they were no longer going to a music festival. The victim, who also told police that she believed the Iron Chef America winner was also taking his anger out on her over neighbors "being racist towards him," said the argument turned physical when she attempted to call her sister. She told officers that Sutherland choked her for several seconds and slammed her phone on the kitchen counter multiple times. Sutherland later "grabbed a gun, pointed it at her, threatened to shoot her and hit her in the chest with the gun," according to the complaint.

Another person at the building, who identified themselves as one of Sutherland's longtime friends, told police that Sutherland and his girlfriend have had "issues when they fight." The person said they went to the address after learning the pair were fighting and had to "physically get in the middle of them and push them apart." He denied seeing Sutherland with a gun.

Police located a plastic gun case with two handguns inside, as well as eight additional firearms along with ammunition, while executing a search warrant at the address, according to the complaint. One of the guns reportedly had a "blood-like substance on it," with police also noting that Sutherland had blood on his hands.

Sutherland was ultimately arrested and charged with one count of felony threats of violence – reckless disregard risk. If convicted, the charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. The Fast Foodies star was released on his own recognizance following a Monday court appearance. In a statement, the Top Chef alum said he is "innocent of these charges and look forward to using the judicial system to prove my innocence. Notwithstanding, this incident has made me realize the urgent need to seek professional help and make significant changes in my life."