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Santa Rosa police standoff ends in arrest


Police said they were called late Wednesday night after a domestic argument at the residence Provost reportedly had been sharing with his 40-year-old wife of just a few months.

Authorities said Provost had locked his wife outside in the midst of the argument, and is suspected of firing a gun at her and a locksmith she had called to help her get back in, authorities said.

Police said the first shot was fired from inside the home and that Provost exited the house, firing as many as four more shots, as the woman and locksmith attempted to flee. Two vehicles in the area were struck by gunfire, police said. No one was injured.

Another neighbor, Todd Wright, said he was about to go to bed when he heard gunfire and someone screaming something like, "Oh my God, he has a gun."

Provost's wife, whose name is being withheld because she's the victim of suspected domestic violence, and the locksmith hid behind some garbage cans while police were en route, authorities said.

Authorities quickly surrounded the multi-level, hillside home, blocking off much of the roadway and evacuating several neighbors.

The department's SWAT team was called in, along with a hostage negotiator who attempted through the night, without success, to contact Provost, who was believed to be in the house, police said.

A large mobile command unit from the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department, a fire engine and two ambulances were staged nearby for the duration of the standoff, though it ultimately ended without the need for medical providers.

An armored vehicle was stationed in front of Provost's home for hours with a member of the SWAT team posted on top, his weapon trained at the front of the house.

Eventually, the SWAT team gathered for instructions in advance of storming the house at 8:45 a.m. — their entry marked by a flash-bang explosion and shouts announcing their presence.

But after a half-hour search of the house that expanded into the yard, Provost's whereabouts still weren't known.

Eventually, the SWAT team broke into smaller groups that began a yard-to-yard search that was abruptly ended in its first few seconds when police and a trained dog came upon Provost in his neighbor's yard.

Additional officers rushed to the area amid the sounds a barking police dog and shouted commands for Provost to put his hands up.

He was quickly handcuffed and brought out front and put into a patrol car without incident.

It appears that Provost had somehow gotten over or around a tall fence at the rear of his next-door neighbor's house and spent the night in the backyard. He was contained within the police perimeter the entire time and was not able to leave, police said.

Police found a shotgun in his house, Linscomb said.

The neighbor, Bob Cerri, a teammate of Provost's at the Santa Rosa Golf & Country Club, had himself been evacuated, leaving the house empty.

Cerri had just returned to the neighborhood - his street still blocked off — when Provost was located in his backyard and expressed both shock and dismay at the unfolding situation.

He said he'd seen Provost several times in recent weeks and would never have guessed he would be associated with violence.

But Cerri also said he didn't know Provost well, and hadn't even realized he'd recently remarried.

He and other neighbors said Provost moved into the house on Sedgemoore about a year ago and more recently had been living there with his new wife.

He separated last year from ex-wife Christina Provost and was divorced from her earlier this year, though they remain enmeshed in a contentious court battle over support payments, reimbursements and other issues outlined in their settlement agreement, according to court records.

The couple has three teenage children. They share custody of two who are under 18, court records said.

Police said none of the kids was at Provost's home Wednesday night.

Provost, the principal and founder at Commercial Management Group, manages numerous commercial properties in Santa Rosa and in Texas, including the G&G shopping center on West College Avenue and Fountaingrove Village, according to his Web site.

He attempted in 2010 to develop a shopping center on Windsor's Shiloh Road anchored by a Target store, though it never went through.

(You can reach Staff Writer Mary Callahan at 521-5249 or mary.callahan@pressdemocrat.com.)