News Release

Santa Rosa man sentenced to nine months in jail for assaulting law enforcement officers in Yellowstone National Park

Lake Yellowstone Hotel
Lake Yellowstone Hotel


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News Release Date: January 19, 2022

Contact: Lori Hogan, United States Attorney Spokesman, 307-772-2124

United States Attorney Bob Murray announced today that BENJAMIN J. BAGALA, age 27, of Santa Rosa, California pleaded guilty and was sentenced for three counts of assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers or employees and one count of depredation against property of the United States. He appeared via Zoom before United States Magistrate Judge Mark L. Carman and was sentenced to nine months imprisonment, with credit served for four days and must surrender on or before March 4, 2022. He also received one year supervised release with special conditions that include a ban from Yellowstone National Park; he shall not use or possess alcohol, shall not enter into bars, pubs, lounges, etc., and will continue with alcohol treatment as approved by the probation officer. Bagala was ordered to pay $2,865.42 in restitution and $100 special assessment.

According to the evidence, on September 25, 2021, at the Lake Yellowstone Hotel in Yellowstone National Park, Bagala was drinking heavily and began harassing guests, running through the halls, breaking things and eventually approached a security guard with threatening behavior. A law enforcement officer was called to the scene where Bagala’s action continued to progress and escalated to an attack on the officer. This law enforcement officer had to deploy his taser to safely gain control. Bagala was extremely intoxicated and displayed injuries from earlier activities, so an ambulance was called. Two additional law enforcement officers arrived to transport Bagala to the Livingston Hospital in Montana. One of the officers rode in the back to restrain him during transport. Bagala broke out of his restraints and fought with the officer. The other officer, driving the ambulance, had to pull over and assist. During this time, both officers received injuries from Bagala’s actions. 

Lake Yellowstone Hotel reported $2,865.42 in damages including broken plexiglass shields, broken plates, broken doors and frames, damaged light fixtures, and blood splatter throughout the halls and lobby.

This crime was investigated by the National Park Service and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie A. Hambrick.

Case Number 0:21-cr-140-MLC

Last updated: January 20, 2022

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