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SWAT takes Provo man into custody after allegedly claiming to shoot family

Crime

PROVO, Utah (ABC4) – A Provo man is in custody after a lengthy SWAT standoff Sunday night.

On April 11, Provo police were dispatched to the area of 2845 west and 100 north for reports of a physical dispute involving a fire weapon.

According to arresting documents, 29-year-old Vardan Verdyan threatened to allegedly use a gun on the individuals residing in the household and had children locked inside.

As officers attempted to make contact with Verdyan by PA speaker, the residents held hostage were able to flee.

When the residents ran toward Provo Police, officers asked them what triggered the incident. According to arresting documents, Verdyan “had been acting strangely recently and today had become more paranoid and was accusing [his wife] of informing the police about things that he was doing.”

He then began looking for cell phones to prove that [his wife] had been talking to the police and even took her “hearing aids because he suspected that they were communication devices.”

The Provo Police Department states that after that instance, Verdyan began to behave “more and more aggressively and it was scaring his wife”.

“He took them down to a room in the basement and gave [his wife] a piece of paper and forced her to write all of the things that she had been hiding from him for the past 8 months,” they add.

Arresting documents say Verdyan then told his family if anyone were to leave, he would shoot all of them.

As the Provo Police Department continued to speak with Verdyan via texts and phone calls, he became more and more adamant that he was a scientist “and had science in the home that he did not want falling into the wrong hands.”

Verdyan then stressed that only a person with a US Army background or someone with knowledge regarding chemical and biological warfare would be allowed into his house, according to arresting documents.

Arresting documents state they were unable to have Verdyan clarify what “science” meant.

After a long standoff, Verdyan exited the home and allowed officers to place him in custody.

A search warrant was then conducted and two rifles, a revolver, the magazine to a semi-automatic pistol, and two other empty handgun cases were found in the garage.

According to a probable cause statement, Verdyan has been booked for the following charges:

  • Aggravated kidnapping
  • Domestic violence in the presence of a child
  • Possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person
  • Violation of protective order

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