SACRAMENTO, Calif. October 2, 2014 – A federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment today against Brent Douglas Cole, 61, of Nevada County, charging him with assault on a federal officer with a deadly weapon which inflicted bodily injury, assault on a person assisting a federal officer with a deadly weapon which inflicted bodily injury, and discharge of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, on June 14, 2014, a BLM ranger stopped Cole after he observed Cole driving his truck on a closed dirt road on BLM land near the South Yuba River campground. The ranger warned Cole not to drive on the road again and allowed him to leave without issuing him a citation. The ranger continued up the dirt road and discovered a makeshift campsite with two motorcycles — one of which had been reported stolen, and one had expired tags. The ranger requested the CHP’s help to impound the motorcycles. While he and a CHP officer were preparing to move the two motorcycles, Cole arrived at the campsite armed, and an exchange of gunfire took place. Cole wounded the BLM ranger in the left shoulder and the CHP officer in the right, lower leg. Cole was struck several times by law enforcement. Cole, the BLM ranger, and the CHP officer received medical attention, and all will survive their wounds.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Land Management, the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, the Nevada County District Attorney’s Office, and the California Highway Patrol. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael D. McCoy and Heiko Coppola are prosecuting the case.
If convicted of all counts, Cole faces a possible maximum statutory penalty of 50 years in prison and a $750,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.