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U.S border agent suspected of sexual assault arrested during armed standoff

Officials in Tuczon, Arizona have taken a U.S border patrol agent into custody after an investigation led them to believe that the agent sexually abused several children over an extended period of time.

Dana Thornhill was arrested Thursday night after fleeing the Sierra Vista area and barricading himself inside of a church with a weapon for several hours.

Sierra Vista Police Lt. Sean Brownson told reporters that both his officers and investigators with U.S. Homeland Security, worked together to surveille Thornhill, and suspected that he was involved in the “continuous” abuse of multiple children in the Sierra Vista area.

“We felt strongly at this time that he should not be walking the streets based on what types of crimes he had committed, the sexual assaults on children, and then the fact that they were continuous over multiple years,” Brownson said.

Authorities also reported that as they moved to arrest Thornhill, he became increasingly aware that he was being surveilled and that’s when he fled to a church he had access to because of his previous affiliation with them.

“It became pretty apparent that he was aware that law enforcement was watching him, and he was concerned that he was going to get arrested,” Brownson said.

Investigators also recovered his disassembled handgun, ammunition, as well as his Border Patrol credential from inside the church.

While authorities would not go into further details on the victims, they did report that during an authorized search of Thornhill’s home, they found additional evidence linking him to the crimes.

Thornhill is now faces two counts of sexual conduct with a minor, and two charges of sexual assault. In the state of Arizona,  felony charges against a minor can carry sentences of up to life in prison.