Utah man killed by FBI during investigation of Biden threats was Air Force veteran
Stars and Stripes August 11, 2023
WASHINGTON – The Utah man who was shot dead by FBI agents after he had made numerous threats against President Joe Biden was an Air Force veteran, according to military records.
Craig Deleeuw Robertson died early Wednesday after he was shot by special agents attempting to serve a warrant at his home in Provo, about 40 miles southeast of downtown Salt Lake City. The warrant was prompted by threats that Robertson had made against Biden ahead of the president’s arrival in Utah that included a visit to a Department of Veterans Affairs hospital to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the PACT Act, a law designed to expand veterans’ health benefits, officials said.
Robertson, a 75-year-old Utah native, had made a series of threatening posts on his social media accounts, including one that made reference to camouflaging himself and “dusting off” his M24 sniper rifle when Biden arrived in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, authorities said. By the time of the shooting, Robertson had been charged with three felony counts, including making threats against the president, as well as FBI agents who were investigating him, according to court documents.
Robertson also wrote in social media profiles that he was a veteran from the Vietnam War era.
Military records show Craig D. Robertson was an Air Force veteran who entered active duty in February 1970 but his service did not extend beyond four years, according to Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek.
Robertson reached the rank of airman first class and was a metalworker helper who had been stationed at Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois, which was shut down in the 1990s, according to the records.
The criminal complaint against Robertson, which was unsealed Wednesday, shows multiple screenshots of social media profiles attributed to Robertson that repeated threats of violence against Biden and other prominent figures, including Attorney General Merrick Garland and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is leading a fraud investigation into former President Donald Trump.
"The time is right for a presidential assassination or two. First Joe then Kamala!" one Facebook post from Robertson stated in late 2022. Another taunted the FBI for “monitoring his social media” and reads, “Checking so I can be sure to have a loaded gun handy in case you drop by again.”
Federal authorities did not immediately disclose details of the shooting that killed Robertson, but The Associated Press reported he was armed during the early morning encounter with FBI agents. One of Robertson’s social posts from last November includes a photo of three assault-style rifles and a caption that reads, “Just getting ready for the 2024 election cycle.” Another shows a sniper rifle that he nicknamed a “Democrat hipocrit eradicator.”
After Robertson was killed, neighbors told Utah news reporters that he was a staunch Trump supporter and his social media posts grew more and more extreme. In one post, he reportedly called himself a MAGA Trumper, which is a reference to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.
“He definitely had his political views, which he was very public about on Facebook,” neighbor Andrew Maunder told The Salt Lake Tribune. “But I think deep down, he was just a cranky old guy who was harmless.”
Roberston’s family posted a statement to social media Thursday that downplayed Robertson’s behavior online and seemed to defend his motivations.
“We, the family of Craig Deeluew Robertson, are shocked and devastated by the senseless and tragic killing of our beloved father and brother, and we fervently mourn the loss of a good and decent man,” they wrote in a lengthy statement on Facebook. “He was understandably frustrated and distraught by the present and ongoing erosions to our constitutionally protected freedoms and the rights of free citizens wrought by what he, and many others in this nation, observed to be a corrupt and overreaching government.”
“As an elderly — and largely homebound man, there was very little he could do but exercise his First Amendment right to free speech and voice his protest in what has become the public square of our age — the Internet and social media,” the statement continued. “Though his statements were intemperate at times, he has never, and would never, commit any act of violence against another human being over a political or philosophical disagreement.”
Robertson pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct in 1997 and paid a small fine, according to Provo public records. Records show he owned a business called Craig’s Custom Woods LLC and a newspaper obituary said he and his wife married in 1971 and divorced in 1986. She died in 2019.