Georgetown firefighter holds 6 people hostage in Kansas: police

A Georgetown man is behind bars in Kansas after he allegedly held six people hostage inside a home earlier this week.

41-year-old Jonatas Pereira has been charged with aggravated assault, aggravated criminal threat, criminal restraint, kidnapping, aggravated burglary and felony criminal use of a weapon, according to Thomas County jail records.

The City of Colby Police Department says that on Tuesday, Feb 20, around 9:46 a.m., its 911 center received a call about a possible armed intruder, which was later changed to a hostage/barricaded subject call.

Officers from multiple agencies responded to the scene and established a perimeter. A car with Texas plates was located in the alley behind the home.

One of the hostages was able to climb out a bedroom window, says Colby police, leaving three women and two children still inside the home.

"He was unarmed when he came out. He left his firearm inside, and he was taken into custody. There were no injuries, no shots fired. It ended as about as peaceful way as it could have," Colby Police Chief Richard Barrett said. "His wife had come up here to Colby from Texas. My understanding is there was domestic violence down in Texas that possibly led to this."

Just after 10:30 a.m., the suspect, identified to FOX 7 Austin by law enforcement as Pereira, eventually walked out of the home with the hostages and was taken into custody. He is currently being held in the Thomas County Jail.

Police say Pereira had driven from Texas to find the people inside the home.

Jonatas Pereira (Thomas County Sheriff's Office)

Georgetown Fire Chief John Sullivan released the following statement: 

"On the afternoon of Feb. 20, 2024, Georgetown Firefighter/Paramedic Jonatas Periera was arrested in Colby, Thomas County, Kansas, and charged with multiple felony and misdemeanor charges as the result of a hostage situation in Colby, Kansas, This incident occurred while Periera was off duty. As a result of this incident and in accordance with Texas civil service law, Periera was immediately placed on administrative leave and is now pending an internal City investigation.

Periera has been employed with the Georgetown Fire Department since March 2017. Periera was also assigned to the Central Texas Regional SWAT Team as a medic. Periera has been removed from his assignment to the Central Texas Regional SWAT Team.

Periera was accused of a separate family violence incident in March 2020 involving a former spouse. That incident did not result in any charges being filed against Periera when the complainant declined to continue with the prosecution of the case.

The City of Georgetown takes this matter seriously and knows this incident is greatly concerning to the Georgetown community and the community of Colby, Kansas, We are fully cooperating with law enforcement authorities in Kansas and appreciate all the work they have done. The City is committed to working through this internal investigation expeditiously.

Due to the City internal investigation the City cannot comment further at this time. If able, the City will provide additional information as it is made available. 

For more information on the Thomas County, Kansas, charges, click here.

For more information on Williamson County domestic violence resources, click here."


The Texas Advocacy Project, which works to end domestic violences, says these cases are a trend they've seen time and time again. 

"Most large hostage situations of [this] nature... unfortunately, do have a thread that leads back to domestic violence," Heather Bellino, CEO of Texas Advocacy Group, said. 

Warning signs include power and control.

"When you have somebody who is exerting that power in a dangerous way or threatening way, then it can possibly escalate into violence," she said.

There are resources available if you need help.

"If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, I would love for you to hear the words that we believe you and we're scared for you. When you are ready, there are resources like Texas Advocacy Project available to you," she said.

To get help, call 800-374-HOPE or click here.

This is an ongoing investigation, according to CPD.