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Police lift shelter in place in Provo; man arrested without further incident

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PROVO — A Provo man was arrested Sunday after he barricaded himself in a home following a domestic disturbance, which prompted a shelter in place to be issued in a Provo neighborhood Sunday evening.

Vardan Verdyan, 29, was arrested and booked into Utah County Jail Sunday night on suspicion of aggravated kidnapping, domestic violence in the presence of a child, possession of a weapon by a restricted person and violating a protective order.

Provo police said Monday they responded to "a domestic violence situation involving a firearm" in the 2800 West block of 100 North shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday.

In an affidavit, police wrote that the call came from Verdyan's mother-in-law who told dispatch that Verdyan had a gun, was holding his wife and son inside the home and had attacked her. The wife and the child were able to flee the home when officers arrived.

Police used phone calls and text messaging to communicate with Verdyan until he agreed to surrender and was taken into custody without further incident.

His wife told police that Verdyan had been "acting strangely recently" and that he had become "more paranoid" Sunday before the incident that resulted in a 911 call, police wrote in the affidavit. The report stated that it escalated when he threatened to shoot her, their son and his mother-in-law; although he was not holding a weapon at the time.

Police wrote that Verdyan had also provided officers with bizarre messages while he barricaded himself inside the home.

"During this time he was adamant that the U.S. Army respond or someone with the chemical and biological warfare office because he was a scientist and had science in the home that he did not want falling into the wrong hands. Verdyan would not clarify what 'science' meant," the affidavit stated.

After he was taken into custody and a search warrant was obtained, police said they found two rifles, a revolver and the magazine to a semi-automatic pistol, as well as two empty handgun cases in the garage of the home. According to the affidavit, Verdyan had a previous conviction for domestic violence and his wife had filed a protective order against him which "'explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily harm against an intimate partner or the child of an intimate partner.'"

Court records show that Verdyan was charged in 4th District Court with two counts of possession of a firearm by a restricted person, both three-degree felonies, as well as three counts of violation of a protective order, a class A misdemeanor, and possession of a controlled substance, also a class A misdemeanor, as a result of an incident in Juab County on Feb. 7.

Records show he was scheduled to have a preliminary hearing for that case Tuesday. On Monday, court officials bumped that hearing to May 4.

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Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general news, outdoors, history and sports for He previously worked for the Deseret News. He is a Utah transplant by the way of Rochester, New York.


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