Wednesday morning, just hours before President Joe Biden was scheduled to arrive in Salt Lake City, Utah, the FBI shot and killed an elderly, frail, and overweight Trump supporter during a pre-dawn raid of his Provo home following death threats posted on social media against Biden and others, according to the Daily Wire.
"The incident began when special agents attempted to serve arrest and search warrants at a residence," the FBI said in a brief statement about the 6:15 am raid. "The subject is deceased."
In addition to making assassination threats against President Biden, the Associated Press reported that the suspect identified as Craig Deleeuw Robertson also threatened to kill other prominent Democrats like Vice President Kamala Harris, Attorney General Merrick Garland, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, New York Attorney General Letitia James, and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, among others.
Though Robertson had reportedly posted numerous threats against Biden and others on Facebook since at least September 2022, it was a threat against DA Bragg that Robertson posted to Truth Social in March, around the time that Bragg indicted former President Trump -- he fantasized about assassinating the anti-Trump prosecutor in a New York City parking garage -- that prompted a tip to the FBI and launched an investigation.
FBI agents reportedly paid Robertson a visit that same month but the elderly man told them to come back with a warrant. The bureau then continued to surveil the man for several more months, during which time Robertson posted numerous threats aimed against FBI agents.
According to unsealed court documents, had Robertson actually been arrested instead of killed during the pre-dawn raid on his Provo home, he would have faced three federal felony counts that included making interstate threats; influencing, impeding, and retaliating against federal law enforcement officers by threat; and threats against the president.
Utah's Deseret News reported that Robertson's neighbors were aghast at the overwhelming use of force against an elderly man they described as "frail" and "overweight" and "barely mobile," who needed a cane to help slowly get around -- though it was acknowledged by some that he espoused "anti-government" viewpoints, possessed numerous firearms, often told "off-color" political jokes, and was no fan of Democrats as he instead was an avid supporter of former President Trump.
Several of those neighbors also witnessed the pre-dawn raid on Robertson's home that involved dozens of heavily armed agents and an armored vehicle, and described hearing several loud explosions from grenades followed by shouting and gunshots, though it was unclear if there had been an exchange of gunfire or if the FBI agents had done all of the shooting.
One of those neighbors was Travis Clark, who said, "The FBI just came and shot an elderly man from my ward. You know, a guy who’s nearly 80 years old, 300 pounds, and can barely get around with a cane."
"I’m sorry, I just think he was an old kook shooting his mouth off. He would occasionally tell us an off-color political joke from time to time," he added. "But there was nothing he ever did that would have made me think that he was either mentally or physically capable of doing anything. And anybody who knew him knew that. I just can’t believe that this man warranted that kind of response."
Another neighbor who witnessed the raid as it occurred, Cooper Robinson, said Robertson was an old man who liked to tell big stories to get attention, and told the outlet, "So a man that sits at home all day, doesn’t have much to do, if he’s on his phone and is involved in politics and has strong political opinions, I’m not surprised that he would make posts like that to try to receive attention. I’m just hoping that the FBI has some more evidence besides Facebook posts to want to raid his house like they did."
Per the AP's account, it would appear that a recent post from Robertson about breaking out an old "ghillie suit" and sniper rifle ahead of President Biden's scheduled visit to Utah on Wednesday may have precipitated the fatal raid on his home.
One neighbor named Andrew Maunder was incredulous at the apparent belief that the FBI actually believed Robertson posed a credible threat of assassination against the president and told the outlet, "There’s no way that he was driving from here to Salt Lake City, setting up a rifle and taking a shot at the president -- 100 percent no way."
As for the U.S. Secret Service, which usually takes the lead with threats against the president, it seemingly deferred to the FBI in this case per a statement to NBC News that said, "The Secret Service is aware of the FBI investigation involving an individual in Utah who has exhibited threats towards a protectee. While we always remain in close coordination with our law enforcement partners, this is an FBI-led effort and we would refer any related questions to the FBI."