DALTON, Ga. - Three men have been arrested after threatening a Dalton homeowner with a gun all over a Donald Trump campaign sign in his front yard.
David Grant, 42, placed a Trump for President campaign sign in front of his Woodland Drive home to show his support. But Tuesday afternoon, Grant said three men passing by his home ended up violently showing their opposition.
According to an arrest report, Hector Ayala-Perez, 20, Alexander DeJesus Moreno, 17; and Mauricio Rodriguez-Celestino, 18, tore the sign from Grant’s yard.
“One crossed into my yard, grabs the sign, wads it up and throws it down,” Grant said.
Grant yelled for the men to replace the sign and there would be no problems, but the report states his directions were met with obscenities. So, Grant said he followed them and grabbed the one who tossed the sign by his vest.
“I grabbed him right, like the lapels, wouldn't let him go .And he said, he said ‘man let me go’ and I refused,” said Grant.
Grant said that was when one of the other men pulled out a pistol.
“I held on to his friend and I said ‘I’m not turning him loose’ and he said ‘Man, I told you’ and he pulls a gun out. He pulls it out of the holster and points it at me,” said Grant. “So, I moved his friend off to the side and I say ‘shoot me. Shoot me.’”
A neighbor came to Grant’s aid. Grant said his neighbor pulled out his own gun to warn them off. They did eventually leave, but Grant said he followed them, even getting a ride from a family member. He eventually tracked him to a home on Avenue E. That’s when Grant called police.
“Obviously, you can't go on somebody else's property. You can't take something that is somebody else's property and destroy it even if you disagree with the message,” said Bruce Frazier with the Dalton Police Department.
Ayala was charged with disorderly conduct. Moreno was charged with aggravated assault and a weapons charge. Rodriguez was charged with terroristic threats, criminal trespass, and possession of marijuana. All three were charged with violation of Georgia's Criminal Street gang act which could enhance their sentences.
Grant said it would have never come to this had one of them not grabbed the sign in the first place.
“They don't like what Trump stands for and I understand that, but everybody has the right to vote for who they want to vote for and everybody has the right to their own property,” said Grant.
Grant said they have been taking a beating on social media from many in Dalton where the population is nearly half Hispanic. Grant insists it isn’t a racial matter, but one of respect.