Robert Hill accused of biting chunk from guard’s arm, smashing 50 bongs at pot shop

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A one-time perennial political candidate and now convicted felon is accused of seriously injuring a security guard at a Tacoma pot shop and doing thousands of dollars in damage by smashing bongs there.

Robert Jesse Hill, 49, pleaded not guilty at arraignment Wednesday to second-degree assault, first-degree malicious mischief, felony harassment and second-degree burglary.

Superior Court Judge Bryan Chushcoff set bail at $100,000.

Court records, which list Hill’s aliases as “Elect Robert Hill” and “The Traveler,” don’t list a defense attorney assigned to his case. Hill is apparently seeking to represent himself, the records show.

Charging papers give this account of what happened:

Police officers got a report of shots fired about 8:45 p.m. Saturday at the Urban Bud marijuana shop at 112 S. 24th St.

“Upon arrival on scene approximately 20 bystanders were pointing police inside the business in a ‘frantic manner,’ and stating that a male was smashing all of the glass bongs and assaulting employees,” the declaration for determination of probable cause says.

No shots were fired. What sounded like gunfire had actually been glass breaking.

The shop was covered in water and broken glass, and the store manager pointed out Hill as the suspect.

A security guard told police he came back from a bathroom break to find Hill holding the security guard’s clipboard and filling out forms.

As the guard took the clipboard away, he smelled intoxicants on Hill’s breath.

It was when the guard told Hill that he needed to leave and that he wouldn’t be served because of his intoxication that Hill started screaming profanity and pushing past him.

Hill and the guard ended up struggling on the ground.

The store manager told the guard to let go, figuring Hill would just leave.

Instead, Hill ran into the showroom, kicked in a door marked “employees only” and threw a water jug across the store.

The guard tried to detain him again. Hill bit a chunk of flesh the size of a golf ball out of the guard’s forearm, then yelled that he was going to kill him, the records state.

He kicked the guard in the chin, then ran through the store and kicked in two glass cases that held custom, hand-blown bongs.

Hill damaged about 50 of them, worth about $200 a piece.

The shattered glass cases were about $1,500 a pop.

All told, the manager figured Hill did about $13,000 in damage.

Court records show Hill has prior convictions for low-level assault, malicious mischief, obstructing police, criminal trespassing and intimidating a judge, among other crimes.

He has run unsuccessfully for various state and local offices through the years and at times attended public meetings dressed in costumes and carrying provocative signs.

Alexis Krell covers local, state and federal court cases that affect Pierce County. She started covering courts in 2016. Before that she wrote about crime and breaking news for almost four years as The News Tribune’s night reporter.