After news broke last Wednesday that an early morning raid on a home in Provo, Utah, resulted in the death of 75-year-old Craig Deleeuw Robertson, it seemed we were left with more questions than answers.
While neighbors and family described Robertson as elderly and homebound, he reportedly had an extensive record of online postings threatening prominent government officials, most notably President Joe Biden, who was traveling to the state later that day.
Robertson also threatened other high-profile Democrats — he posted about “patriotic dreams” of standing over the body of California Gov. Gavin Newsom “with a wound above his brow and my S&W M&P 9mm still smoking.” Other posts threatened U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, Vice President Kamala Harris and New York Attorney General Letitia James.
A criminal complaint filed in Utah District Court alleged specific threats regarding the president, which appears to be what prompted the raid.
Online posts also showed an intent to kill Mr. Biden, the complaint said. In a post dated Aug. 6, Robertson allegedly wrote, “I hear Biden is coming to Utah,” and that he was “cleaning the dust off his M24 sniper.” The complaint showed photos of the suspect with a long-range rifle and a type of camouflage known as a ghillie suit.
Following the raid, while numerous outlets cited anonymous law enforcement sources who claimed Robertson was armed at the time of the raid, the FBI remained fairly tight-lipped about the specifics of the incident, leading to additional questions regarding the circumstances and whether the shooting of Robertson was indeed justified. As Bonchie observed:
That leads to another big issue. Why is the FBI conducting a pre-dawn raid on an elderly man over online threats? Anytime the FBI barge in on someone who is sleeping, there is a chance that person mistakes law enforcement for unlawful home intruders and things go sideways. Robertson was old and barely able to walk. Why didn’t the FBI just pick him up and arrest him on his way to the store? Why didn’t they just knock and ask him to exit the house peacefully?
But again, it’s what the FBI isn’t saying that says the most. If Robertson did point a weapon at the agents, why hasn’t the FBI come out and revealed that yet? Doing so would quell questions about the shooting. Body cam footage has to exist, as well, because FBI agents are required to wear them during pre-planned raids. Where is that footage to prove Robertson was posing a deadly threat?
Perhaps all that is forthcoming, but the silence coming from the government is deafening right now. An explanation must be provided here, and one that deals with all the serious questions surrounding the killing of Robertson. Anything less is unacceptable.
On Monday, the FBI released a statement regarding the incident, confirming that Robertson pointed a revolver at agents prior to the shooting.
The FBI continues to review an agent-involved shooting, which occurred around 6:15 a.m. on Wednesday, August 9, 2023, in Provo, Utah. The incident began when special agents attempted to serve arrest and search warrants on 75-year-old Craig Deeleuw Robertson at his home for threats to elected officials and law enforcement officers. Robertson resisted arrest and as agents attempted to take him into custody, he pointed a .357 revolver at them. The FBI takes all shooting incidents involving our agents or task force officers seriously. In accordance with FBI policy, the shooting incident is under review by the FBI’s Inspection Division.
While neighbors took video of the raid, it is unclear if there is bodycam footage of it from the agents involved.
According to a July 2022 policy notice, special agents or task force officers must “make reasonable efforts to wear and activate their (body worn cameras) for the purpose of recording their actions during FBI pre-planned arrests and searches.”
The policy also directs agents to make “reasonable efforts” to activate cameras “upon approaching subjects or premises” related to a “pre-planned” arrest. It states agents must use cameras “when it is safe and practicable to do so” in case there are unanticipated circumstances, like a “contentious or violent” interaction.
RedState will provide further updates when and if additional details regarding the incident become available.