Man accused of pulling gun on man wearing MAGA hat appears in court again

Published: Feb. 22, 2019 at 3:49 PM CST
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The man accused of pulling a gun on another man at Sam's Club last weekend was in court Friday morning. New information was disclosed about previous weapon charges on the suspect, James Phillips.

"There's no other way to describe it other than a violation of my rights," said Terry Pierce, the victim.

At Friday's preliminary hearing, Officer Bittel with the Bowling Green Police department testified.

"While that verbal argument was going on, Mr. Phillips pulled out the gun and pointed it at his face," said Officer Bittel.

The victim - Terry Pierce who sat in the courtroom today -- claims Phillips lost it over Pierce's and his wife's Make America Great Again hats.

"All this over a political statement over a hat. Everybody has a right to believe how they believe, but you don't have a right to tell somebody they can't believe a certain way," said Pierce.

While the police report confirms the MAGA hats caused Phillips to approach the victim, the subject of MAGA hats were not brought up at today's hearing.

"I thought there was a little bit more that could have been said in the courtroom that wasn't. But I know they have procedures."

The story receiving national attention -- Pierce tells me his life from seven days ago has done a 180.

"The emotional part of it is just how it's disrupted my life. And it may seem stranger, but there's never been a fear for me about it. It's anger is my emotion."

Phillips has two weapon charges in Tennessee. An unlawful possession in 2009, and a felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in 2013 that was resolved as a misdemeanor. Police say Phillips has a current concealed carry permit in Tennessee.

"I can't believe someone who has past weapon charges against them is even still allowed to carry," said Pierce.

Overall, Pierce says despite his negative experience, he hopes his message resonates with others.

"Our country is so divided right now," said Pierce. "This country's gotta come back together. It'll never be destroyed by another country, it'll be destroyed from within -- and that's the people vs the people."

After today's hearing, the court said given Phillips' criminal record, his bond would remain at $10,000.

The case will be presented to a grand jury within 60 days.