WESTFIELD, N.Y. (WIVB) – A southern tier man is in custody and facing serious charges following a standoff. Police say Thomas Periera, 33, poured gasoline on his aunt and set her, her house and two vehicles on fire.
A Westfield neighbor, Joshua Caves, who came face to face with the suspect, says the man had multiple gasoline cans and tried throwing one on him when he tried to save the woman in the middle of this bizarre domestic incident.
The incident started around 6 p.m. Monday on Bank Street in the Village of Westfield.
Before police, fire, Chautauqua County Sheriffs and SWAT got to the scene Caves said he saw a fire and heard screams. He went to the home and said a man was threatening and hurting a woman inside.
Police say Periera poured gasoline on the woman, Periera’s aunt, and set the house on fire, then locked himself in the basement and claimed he wanted to die and he had a gun. Police never found a gun and after speaking with him for more than an hour, used a stun gun to take Periera into custody.
Caves said what he saw and heard, he said, “There was a silver car on fire, two people screaming.
“She was screaming. He was saying ‘you’re going to die,’” he continued, “I figured I might as well take the gas cans away, out of the house.”
The woman, who Caves said is Periera’s aunt, is recovering Tuesday morning.
Pereira is being held without bail at the Chautauqua County Jail. He was arraigned and charged with multiple felonies, including arson, assault and reckless endangerment.
It is still unclear what started the incident.