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Jefferson County man sets fire to his home and takes neighbors hostage

IMPERIAL, Mo. – An Imperial man is in jail Thursday after deputies said he set his own home on fire and went next door to his neighbors’ home and held them hostage.

Kylie Kunzie, 45, was charged with second-degree arson and kidnapping.

Prosecutors said he set his parents’ home in the 1100 block of Wolf Hollow Road on fire Wednesday morning. He then went to his neighbors to borrow their phone and then held them hostage at knifepoint.

“I was scared, but I was more concerned about my wife,” said Richard Kurtzeborn, one of the kidnap victims.

Deputies were able to talk Kunzie into releasing his wife, Patricia Kurtzeborn. They said minutes later when Kunzie held Richard Kurtzeborn on the front step at knifepoint another deputy swooped in grabbed Richard and pulled him to safety. People were calling the deputy a hero.

“He certainly acted very calm under pressure. It was a very tense situation, dealing with an armed subject that had two hostages,” Jefferson County Sgt. Matt Moore said. “There were multiple lives in the balance and he acted heroically under pressure.”

He said Kunzie retreated inside the home with a rifle but later gave up. The suspect’s stepfather, Charles Koffman, said Kunzie spent almost three decades of his life in prison and was released early last year. He said Kunzie was diagnosed with mental health issues.

“He was a paranoid schizophrenic with PTSD,” Koffman said.

He did not know if Kunzie had been taking his medicine regularly, but Kunzie told him he’d like to go back to prison.

“He told me that’s what he wants. It’s home,” Koffman said. “It’s extremely sad, very upsetting.”

The suspect’s stepfather hoped Kunzie receives mental health treatment, but he’s not optimistic that will happen.

“It is sad. I think he’s (Kunzie) a pretty nice guy,” Kurtzeborn said.

No one was injured during the ordeal. The home sustained smoke damage.

Kunzie was being held on a $100,000 bond.