Man Who Confronted NBC Reporter on Live TV Is Arrested
Benjamin Eugene Dagley interrupted an NBC reporter covering Hurricane Ida in Mississippi, the police said. Three days later, U.S. marshals arrested him in Ohio.,
An Ohio man was arrested on Thursday, three days after he angrily confronted an NBC News reporter who was live on TV, covering Hurricane Ida in Gulfport, Miss., the police said.
The man, Benjamin Eugene Dagley, 54, of Wooster, Ohio, was arrested by members of the U.S. Marshals Service’s violent fugitive task force after he left a store in a shopping plaza in Dayton, Ohio, the Marshals Service said.
He was charged with two counts of simple assault, one count of disturbing the peace and one count of violating an emergency curfew, the Gulfport Police Department said.
Mr. Dagley, who is on probation for an incident in Ohio involving a break-in at a metal plating shop, may also be in violation of travel restrictions that are part of his probation, the police said.
It was unclear why Mr. Dagley had been in Gulfport — about 1,000 miles from his home — a day after a major hurricane hit the area. Phone calls placed to a number listed as belonging to Mr. Dagley were not returned on Tuesday night.
A live report from NBC News shows that he whipped his white pickup truck off the road and into the backdrop of Shaquille Brewster’s shot as Mr. Brewster was describing the effects of Hurricane Ida, which had made landfall on the Gulf Coast on Sunday.
Mr. Dagley can be seen stepping out of his truck and running toward Mr. Brewster, who pauses and says, “I think we even have a random person going around.”
“You’re reporting this accurately, right?” Mr. Dagley says.
Mr. Brewster shifts so that the water is his backdrop and continues to speak to the camera. Mr. Dagley can be heard yelling in the background, though it is unclear what he is saying, and he is not visible in the shot.
A few seconds later, the scene appears to escalate.
“I’m going to toss it back to you,” Mr. Brewster tells Craig Melvin, an anchor for NBC. “We have a person who needs a little help right now.”
Mr. Dagley is seen moving toward Mr. Brewster as he screams in his face, “Report accurately!” and bumps into him before NBC cuts away. Mr. Melvin then tells viewers that the network will check in with Mr. Brewster later and that “there’s a lot of crazy out there.”
Later in the broadcast, Mr. Melvin said Mr. Brewster was OK.
Mr. Brewster, who did not respond to emails and requests for comment on social media, said in an Instagram post that he was “overwhelmed by the love and support” after “the wildest moment I’ve had on air.”
“Our team joked about it afterwards, but it was without a doubt as scary for us as it was for you all watching,” he said. “While that one report was interrupted, we were right back up in the next hour and will continue reporting as we are here to do.”
The Gulfport police said Mr. Dagley had left the area by Tuesday and was traveling in his white Ford F-150 pickup truck.
The members of the fugitive task force who took Mr. Dagley into custody on Thursday had received information that he was still driving that truck with an Ohio license plate, the service said.
“This violent fugitive was attempting to flee from his charges in Gulfport but the swift work of our task force members resulted in a timely arrest,” Pete Elliott, the U.S. marshal for the Northern District of Ohio, said in a statement.
Cleveland.com reported in 2017 that Mr. Dagley had been arrested on suspicion of breaking into an electroplating shop that he once owned and drilling holes into tanks holding dangerous chemicals. He pleaded guilty to vandalism, inducing panic and attempted assault, according to court records from Cuyahoga County, Ohio. He was sentenced to five years of probation in 2018.
The authorities in Cuyahoga County issued an arrest warrant on Tuesday for Mr. Dagley, at the request of his probation officer, that accused him of leaving the state without permission, according to court records.