Gilbert police arrested a man Tuesday accused of beating a woman and threatening to set her on fire.
Police arrested Chris McNutt, 46, in the area of Baseline Road and Horne as he walked through a field about 12 hours after he slipped away from a house where a SWAT team was stationed and believed he was inside.
Police had cordoned off a neighborhood near Gilbert and Guadalupe roads for about six hours Tuesday. Police also believed he had a military rifle with him, but he didn't have it when he was arrested.
Events began to unfold about 7:20 p.m. with a 911 call that a man was beating a woman.
Sgt. Mark Marino, Gilbert police spokesman, said McNutt had beaten a 26-year-old woman in a townhome at 170 E. Guadalupe Road. He poured a liquid over her, threatened to set her on fire and kill her children because she had been talking to another man, police said.
He fled the scene after neighbors heard the woman screaming and came to her aid, and police believed he took the military rifle with him when he left.
A detective set up surveillance of a home in the 300 block of West Princeton Avenue and saw him walking toward the carport about 12:15 a.m. Tuesday.
The detective believed he had gone inside.
The SWAT team broke into the house about 6:20 a.m. to find he was not there.
According to court records, McNutt has been accused of hitting a woman before.
Mesa police were called Sept. 17, 2005, by McNutt's ex-girlfriend who said he violated an order of protection by climbing through a window of her home, and then punching her in the face.
When police arrested him more than a week later, he had methamphetamine in his pockets, but he told police the pants weren't his, a pre-sentence report states.
McNutt pleaded guilty to criminal trespass and drug possession and was placed on probation.
He was later caught with drugs in his possession and was sent to prison for a year.