Gulfport police are looking for Ohio’s Benjamin Eugene Dagley (pictured) after allegedly assaulting a mid-air NBC reporter
An angry man caught on camera interrupting an NBC news report about Hurricane Ida is now wanted by police for assault related to the incident, as it was found he may have violated his probation.
Police in Gulfport, Mississippi, named Benjamin Eugene Dagley, of Ohio, the man who lunged at NBC’s Shaquille Brewster Monday while covering the storm from a beach.
The man runs after Brewster, yells and jumps at the reporter before the footage disappears.
After the incident, Gulfport Police were called to investigate the alleged attack, and in a release sought the public’s help in locating Dagley.
In addition to two counts of simple assault, he is wanted for disturbing the peace and violating the curfew for being outside while Ida was still in the area.
After a review of his criminal record, the Gulfport Police Department said in a release they had discovered that Dagley is currently on probation on previous charges in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and that one of the terms of the probation was a travel restriction.
Footage from the incident shows NBC reporter Shaquille Brewster covering the aftermath of Ida, which made landfall the previous night as a Category 4 hurricane, when a man identified by police as Dagley, parked his pickup and started sprinting at him
Dagley runs up to the crew and yells, “You’re reporting this accurately, aren’t you?” while Brewster has his crew slide the camera away from the guy
Dagley continues to scream, however, and the clip ends just as he lunges at Brewster, yelling, “Sign up carefully!”
Although police did not specify the charges, according to Cuyahoga County court records and earlier news reports, Dagley was arrested in 2017 for drilling holes in storage tanks at a galvanizing company he once owned.
The incident sent a guard to hospital after being exposed to the toxic chemicals, according to Cleveland.com, and in 2018 he pleaded guilty to criminal assault, causing panic and vandalism in connection with the incident.
Court records show that his case was reopened Thursday for a possible parole violation, and on Tuesday Cuyahoga County summoned the local sheriff’s office to issue a warrant for Dagley’s arrest.
Gulfport Police say they believe Dagley is no longer in the Mississippi Gulf Coast area and may be traveling.
They identified his vehicle as a 2016 white Ford F150 with Ohio registration number PJR1745, and are looking for information on his whereabouts.
Brewster tweeted shortly afterwards that he and his crew were unharmed in the incident
Footage of Dagley interrupting the broadcast was widely shared on social media showing him he stopped in his truck behind Brewster, got out and sprinted towards him.
Brewster reported on how life began to return to normal that morning in the areas around where the storm had struck just hours earlier.
“A few minutes ago, people were walking their dogs. They are now back at the beach. That’s the feeling you get,” he says as the man approaches from behind.
“It’s stopped raining, the wind is still blowing there, and I think there’s a random person walking around.”
Police sought the public’s help to track down Dagley and shared a photo of his pickup truck (pictured)
You can hear Dagley yell at the reporter and his camera crew as he approaches, saying, “You’re reporting this accurately, aren’t you?”
Brewster tries to continue the segment and asks the crew to turn the camera away from Dagley while also moving his position away from him.
However, Dagley continues to scream and Brewster is eventually forced to tell anchor Craig Melvin to stop the broadcast.
“Craig, I’m throwing it back at you because we have someone who needs a little help right now,” he says as Dagley leaps out at him, yelling, “report closely!”
The broadcast is cut short just as Brewster raises his forearm to defend himself.
Gulfport Police had asked for the public’s help in identifying Dagley after the incident, and they reported in a release that he may have also violated his Ohio parole by traveling to Mississippi.
“Hey, hey, hey,” Melvin says.
“We’re going to be contacting Shaq Brewster to make sure everything’s okay. There’s a lot of madmen out there, a lot of madmen.”
Moments after Brewster tweeted that he and his crew were okay.
“Appreciate the concern guys. The team and I are all good!’ He wrote.
MSNBC president Rashida Jones released a statement about the incident, calling Brewster a “perfect professional.”
“Like the consummate professional, he wouldn’t be intimidated by anyone to do his job. We’re glad he and the team are safe, and we couldn’t be more proud and supportive of their work,” she said.