UPDATED with arrest information: U.S. Marshals arrested Benjamin Eugene Dagley on Thursday at a shopping plaza in Dayton, Ohio, and the Gulfport Police Department in Mississippi has filed criminal charges against the man it says accosted MSNBC reporter Shaquille Brewster during an on-air live segment Monday.
Dagley was charged by the Gulfport police with two counts of simple assault, one count of disturbing the peace and one count of violating an emergency curfew. Simple assault typically involves minor injury or a limited threat of violence.
The arrest was announced by U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott and Ohio’s Wayne County Sheriff Travis Hutchinson, who said in a press release that Dagley was arrested in the shopping plaza after authorities located his white pickup truck in the parking lot.
NBC News Correspondent Accosted On Air During Live Shot Of Hurricane Ida Aftermath
Elliott said in the statement, “Due to assistance provided by the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, our task force members were able to track this fugitive from Mississippi to his arrest location in Dayton. 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.”
Dagley, of Wooster, Ohio, also was wanted by the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department in Ohio for a probation violation. The suspect is believed to have violated his probation in Ohio by traveling to Mississippi, where was caught on camera as he angrily approached MSNBC correspondent Brewster.
According to the Gulfport police, the suspect on Monday was traveling in a Ford truck on Highway 90 during a citywide curfew caused by Hurricane Ida. After public assistance in identifying the man, police reviewed Dagley’s criminal history and contacted Ohio’s Cuyahoga County Adult Probation Department regarding a potential violation of probation. One of the conditions of Dagley’s probation is a travel restriction.
Gulfport police said Tuesday that Dagley was likely no longer on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and was traveling in a white 2016 Ford F150 bearing Ohio license plate number PJR1745. The police asked anyone knowing of his whereabouts or spotting the truck to contact their local law enforcement agency.
Brewster, an NBC News and MSNBC correspondent, was doing a live shot in the hurricane’s aftermath yesterday when a man jumped out of a white pickup truck and ran toward him, shouting and seeming to rush up against the reporter.
Watch footage of the incident below.
The live shot quickly cut to MSNBC host Craig Melvin, who appeared startled as he said, “Hey, hey, hey, hey. We’re going to check back in with Shaq Brewster just to make sure all is well. There’s a lot of crazy out there. A lot of crazy.”
Brewster later tweeted, “Appreciate the concern guys. The team and I are all good!” though Melvin later wrote. “This is beyond unacceptable and disgusting. @shaqbrewster was trying to do his job on a beach in Gulfport, MS. Shaq is ok. This guy who nearly attacked him clearly is not.”
MSNBC president Rashida Jones later said in a statement, “Shaq Brewster is an exceptional journalist. Like the consummate professional, he did not let someone intimidate him from doing his job. We’re glad he and the team are safe, and we couldn’t be more proud and supportive of their work.”
The on-air incident apparently isn’t the first time the suspect has been caught misbehaving on camera: A 2017 Cleveland Plain Dealer report indicated that Dagley faced criminal charges after being caught on tape breaking into an electroplating company he previously owned and drilling holes in various chemical tanks. A security guard at the Cleveland Plating company required medical attention after being exposed to the hazardous chemicals from the tanks. Dagley pleaded guilty to vandalism, inducing panic and attempted assault.