Police: Clearwater firefighter arrested for strangling woman, pointing gun at her

A Clearwater firefighter was arrested in Tampa after police say he strangled a woman and pointed a gun at her during an argument over politics.

Tampa police said 41-year-old Christopher Maine and the victim were drinking around 4 a.m. Tuesday at their home when they began arguing over politics. The victim said Maine became enraged and grabbed her by the throat, forcing her to the ground and restricting her airway.

The woman was able to kick him off, but said Maine grabbed a handgun from the kitchen and pointed it at her, telling her he was going to shoot her.

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Police said the victim tried to call 911 on a landline, but the suspect grabbed the phone from her.

She said Maine then grabbed her and began to drag her as she tried to get to the phone.

The victim then tried to find her cell phone to dial 911, but said Maine grabbed the phone and threw it -- all while still pointing the gun at her and yelling that he would shoot.

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During the struggle, police said the victim was able to grab a beer bottle and break it to defend herself.

A Tampa police officer arrived at the scene in response to the 911 call, and could hear Maine yelling at the victim to get against the wall.

When the officer opened the front door, the victim ran out as Maine pointed his gun at both the officer and the woman as they stood in the doorway.

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Police said Maine admitted to pointing the gun at the officer and apologized.

Maine faces multiple felony charges including two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment and tampering with a witness.

Clearwater Fire and Rescue confirmed that Maine has been employed with the agency since 2005, and has been a lieutenant since 2016.

"We learned this morning of the allegations against one of our employees, and we are troubled by his arrest," said Fire Chief Scott Ehlers.  "This is not the type of conduct we expect from those who serve our city. We are working to gain more information from the Tampa Police Department about the case."

Officials said he has no previous formal discipline with the city. As of Tuesday morning, Maine has been placed on unpaid administrative leave.