Gilbert police arrested a suspect who is accused of fleeing after a six-hour SWAT standoff that started when he beat a 26-year old woman and threatened to burn her alive, authorities said Tuesday. Christopher McNutt, 46, was taken into custody without incident around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Police were first called about 7:20 p.m. Monday when neighbors heard the woman screaming for help inside an abandoned townhome near the 100 block of East Guadalupe Road, Sgt. Mark Marino said in a prepared statement.
Police said a man matching McNutt's description began beating the victim after seeing her talking with another man, police said.
He also “threatened to kill the victim and the victim's children,” Marino said. According to McNutt, the assailant forced the victim into a nearby vacant townhome. “He poured a liquid on the victim, threatening to set her on fire,” Marino said.
The victim then lost consciousness during the assault.
The man fled when witnesses and neighbors heard the woman's screams for help, police said.
She was taken to a local hospital and was treated for a head laceration and other injuries consistent with being kicked and punched.
Before fleeing the scene in a burgundy 1998 Ford Explorer, however, the assailant removed an AK–47 assault rifle from the woman's apartment.
Investigators found the vehicle at a home in the 300 block of West Princeton Avenue, where they began watching the home. About 12:15 a.m. Tuesday, the man fled from a detective who confronted him.
Police initially believed he had barricaded himself inside the home, but after a six-hour SWAT standoff, it was determined he fled the area before backup officers arrived.
Police found the vehicle in a parking lot in the 100 block of Guadalupe Road. The car was impounded and requested a search warrant.
Around 12:30 p.m. a witness reported seeing McNutt walking on foot near Baseline and McQueen roads. Several marked and unmarked police cars arrived and took McNutt into custody without incident. He was unarmed.
The AK-47 had not been found.