News & Features

Assault With a Weapon Charge Filed in Mask-Wearing Conflict

Suspect knocked over several glasses of water, shoved an employee and pinned a second employee against a wall at Helena restaurant

HELENA — A Montana man is charged with felony assault with a weapon after a confrontation over his not wearing a mask in a Helena restaurant, Lewis and Clark County prosecutors said.

Rodney Robert Smith, 45, was asked to leave the restaurant on Nov. 6 after declining to wear a face covering to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the Independent Record reported.

Witnesses reported Smith knocked over several glasses of water, shoved an employee and pinned a second employee against a wall. Smith then pointed out a concealed handgun on his belt, patted it and said something like “I’m going to get you,” court records said.

Smith did not enter a plea during his initial appearance in Justice Court on Nov. 9, the clerk’s office said. He is also charged with three misdemeanors — assault, carrying a concealed firearm without a permit and carrying a concealed weapon in a prohibited place.

Court records do not indicate if Smith has an attorney who could speak on his behalf. He is scheduled to enter a plea in District Court on Nov. 27.