Charges dropped against man who attacked Florida NBC2 reporter
Charges against a man who attacked a Florida broadcast reporter while she was filming were dropped on Oct. 26, 2021, according to case files reviewed by the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.
Hollis Creach was charged on Nov. 28, 2019, with criminal mischief and battery, after approaching NBC2 reporter Delia D’Ambra in Fort Myers, grabbing her camera and breaking it, and shaking her.
In 2020, the court appointed experts to evaluate Creach’s competency and found him incompetent to proceed. Creach’s attorney filed a motion to dismiss the charges, which the court granted in October 2021, closing the case.
Delia D’Ambra, a broadcast reporter for NBC2 News in Southwest Florida, was assaulted and her camera damaged while working on a story alone in North Fort Myers on Nov. 28, 2019.
D’Ambra was wrapping up her shoot when a man wearing work gloves approached her, NBC2 reported. She hit the record button on her camera right as the man lunged for her.
“He comes and grabs everything, shakes me and pushes me back,” D’Ambra told NBC2. “And as we’re going down, he holds onto the viewfinder and pulls that down and breaks it.”
In the video posted by NBC2, D’Ambra can be heard screaming multiple times, “Leave me alone!” As the man walks away from her D’Ambra drags herself and the camera across the pavement, warning the man that she is calling the police.
“I knew immediately that I was alone, I needed to get away from this person,” D’Ambra said. “He went back to his car. I had no idea whether he was going to get a weapon, take the car and come get me. You don’t know what’s going to happen.”
When deputies arrived at the scene, they arrested 79-year-old Hollis Creach.
D’Ambra tweeted later that day that the experience was frightening and exhausting, but that she was feeling better. “God spared me great harm today & I’m grateful. I also forgive the man who attacked me & know God loves him too,” D’Ambra wrote.
The incident will affect how she approaches reporting in the future, D’Ambra told NBC2.
“I will be extremely cautious with individuals approaching me, yelling at me, even more so now,” D’Ambra said.
D’Ambra did not respond to request for comment by the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.
Creach has been charged with battery, damaging property and criminal mischief, and made his first appearance in court on Nov. 29, according to NBC2.