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Man sentenced for assaulting two tourists in Yellowstone National Park bathroom

Posted: 1:41 PM, Apr 25, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-25 15:41:25-04

The man accused of assaulting two tourists in a Yellowstone National Park bathroom and spraying them both with bear spray last summer was sentenced on Wednesday to 6 1/2 years in federal prison.

Jackson Burley Coombs, 30, was sentenced for assaulting two tourists in Yellowstone National Park in July of 2018.

United States District Court Judge Nancy D. Freudenthal imposed the sentence after Coombs pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon and one count of simple assault.

No hometown was listed by officials for Coombs.

According to the original charging documents, on July 18, 2018, park rangers responded to a 911 call of a sexual assault in progress. While responding, multiple 911 calls were received about an ongoing fight between two men. Emergency Medical Services were also paged out for multiple injuries.

Coombs was identified by the victims as the man who assaulted a woman on the women’s side of the community bathrooms near the cabins on Cottage Lane.

When rangers arrived on the scene, the woman’s boyfriend and another man were holding Coombs pinned to the ground.

The woman’s boyfriend told rangers that he and his girlfriend had walked to the community bathrooms to use the facilities. When he exited the men’s side, he heard a woman’s voice screaming “help”.

The man then knocked on the door and when the woman continued to scream, he pushed the door open. Inside he could see a pair of legs sticking out from under the far stall. When he opened the door he saw a “man with long bleach blonde hair, assaulting his girlfriend.” The man was later identified as Coombs.

Coombs reportedly then turned and began to assault the boyfriend and an altercation began. The man was bitten twice by Coombs and during the fight, Coombs reportedly pulled out bear spray and tried to spray the man and his girlfriend. All three individuals were exposed to the bear spray.

The woman, who was told to “get out of here and call 911” by her boyfriend, ran outside and encountered a bystander who then went into the bathroom and saw the fight. He helped keep Coombs pinned to the floor in the bathroom until law enforcement could arrive.

The woman told rangers that when she entered the bathroom, she noticed someone was in the first stall, wearing blue jeans and black cowboy boots, with the toes pointing toward the wall and not the door of the stall.

The woman then used the far stall, but upon exiting the stall, someone began to bang on the door until the locked door burst open. The woman reported that Coombs had toilet paper wrapped around his neck and lower face when he began punching her in the face and head. She later told rangers she believed she would have died if not rescued by her boyfriend.

The woman, who is identified as a medical doctor in court documents, later reported symptoms of a concussion.

After Coombs was sentenced, the United States Attorney for Wyoming, Mark A. Klaassen, stated, “The nature and circumstances of the unprovoked assault, in this case, are truly appalling. I am sorry for the pain and emotional distress the victim of this senseless attack has had to endure and thankful for the courage of those who heard the commotion and took action to subdue Coombs before he could inflict any further harm.  I also appreciate our law enforcement partners in responding to the scene and assisting my office in bringing this case to justice.”

Upon completion of his prison sentence, Coombs will be on supervised release for 36 months and was ordered to pay $2,199.00 in restitution and a $125.00 special assessment.

-Additional reporting by Ken Spencer & David Dyas/MTN News