The Police Department in Sierra Vista, Arizona, after a four-hour standoff on Thursday arrested a U.S border patrol agent on suspicion of sexually abusing multiple children over several years.

The agent, identified as 49-year-old Dana Thornhill, was armed with a .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun when he barricaded himself inside a church near Huachuca City. The Sierra Vista police dispatched a crisis negotiation team who, after negotiating for almost four hours, convinced Thornhill to surrender.

Thornhill was under constant surveillance as he was suspected of involving in continuous sexual abuse of multiple children in Sierra Vista, over several years.

The Sierra Vista Police Department, working jointly with the U.S. Homeland Security Investigations after considering his ghastly behavior and his experience in law enforcement, proceeded with the arrest and determined him as a threat to the community.

“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,” Sierra Vista Police Lt. Sean Brownson told local media.

Brownson said Thornhill, on suspicions that he was under surveillance and that his case was under investigation, fled the Sierra Vista city limits and found refuge in the church, where he had access to because of his previous association with it.

“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.

The police had also issued a search warrant at Thornhill’s home at Sierra Vista on Thursday, following which officers discovered additional evidence that strengthened Thornhill’s links to the crimes.

Considering the crime’s sensitive nature, the police denied releasing any additional information regarding the case. The ages and the number of victims involved in the case were unknown.

“I can’t comment on what that is right now, but there’s corroborating evidence that he was involved in this type of activity,” Brownson added.

Thornhill was booked into the Cochise County jail without a bond. He faces two counts of sexual conduct with a minor, and two charges for sexual assault.

This representational image shows a man's handcuffed hands. Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images