Council Bluffs police said in a statement that the 25-year-old suspect from Papillion, Nebraska, was spotted by officers in Omaha, Nebraska, at 3.23am and arrested. Police said the man will be extradited back to Council Bluffs.
"You picked the wrong target," Ms McSally, who served as US senator for Arizona from 2019 to 2020, wrote of the attacker in a Facebook post. She earlier described the Wednesday morning attack in a video she posted online.
“A man came up behind me and he engulfed me in a bear hug and he molested and fondled me until I fought him off,” she said. “I then chased him down. I said a lot of swear words in this moment. I was in a fight, flight or freeze. And I chose to fight.”
After Ms McSally chased the man into the brush at Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park, she called police. She lost sight of the man and he got away, but police said video surveillance and other investigative work led them to the suspect.
The former senator who failed to win re-election in 2020 said she was in the area to deliver a speech about courage in Omaha on Wednesday night. Omaha and Council Bluffs are just 5 miles (8km) apart.
The first woman to fly a fighter plane in combat said in the video that she was OK, but that the assault “tapped into a nerve of other sexual abuse and assault that I’ve been through in the past.”
Ms McSally disclosed during a 2019 Senate hearing on sexual assault in the military that she had been raped by a superior officer in the Air Force. She didn’t report that assault at the time because she didn’t trust the system, but she said on Wednesday: “I took my power back. He tried to take power from me, but I turned it on him and he was running from me instead of the other way around.”
Ms McSally served in the Air Force from 1988 until 2010 and rose to the rank of colonel before entering politics. She served two terms in the House before narrowly losing a bid to represent Arizona in the Senate against Democrat Kyrsten Sinema.