FBI special agents shot and killed a Utah man Wednesday while attempting to arrest him for allegedly making threats against President Joe Biden ahead of the president’s trip to the state.
FBI SWAT agents were giving commands to the man when he pointed a gun at them, according to a law enforcement source familiar with the incident.
The man, Craig Robertson, was facing three federal charges, including threats against the president as well as influencing, impeding and retaliating against federal law enforcement officers by threat. Investigators noted that Robertson appears to owns “a sniper rifle” and several other firearms.
Some of the threats happened just ahead of Biden’s planned trip to Utah on Wednesday evening.
“I HEAR BIDEN IS COMING TO UTAH,” one threat read, according to prosecutors. “DIGGING OUT MY OLD GHILLE SUIT AND CLEANING THE DUST OFF THE M24 SNIPER RIFLE. WELCOM, BUFFOON-IN-CHIEF!”
Robertson also posted online threats in recent months against other Democratic politicians and prosecutors who have brought cases against former President Donald Trump. The case comes amid heightened vitriol aimed at national and local leaders in the lead-up to the 2024 election and what FBI Director Christopher Wray has called an “unprecedented” level of threats against FBI agents.
In a post on Monday Robertson said, “Hey FBI, you still monitoring my social media? Checking so I can be sure to have a loaded gun handy in case you drop by again.”
Biden was briefed on the matter Wednesday in New Mexico, where he delivered remarks on manufacturing before his scheduled travel to Salt Lake City.
“The FBI is reviewing 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 at a residence. The subject is deceased,” an FBI spokesperson said in a statement to CNN.
The spokesperson continued: “The FBI takes all shooting incidents involving our agents or task force members seriously. In accordance with FBI policy, the shooting incident is under review by the FBI’s Inspection Division.”
The US Secret Service, which is responsible for protection of high-level government officials, including Biden, referred questions to the bureau. “The Secret Service is aware of the FBI investigation involving an individual in Utah who has exhibited threats to a Secret Service protectee,” a Secret Service spokesperson said.
Robertson also allegedly made threats on Facebook against Attorney General Merrick Garland – including a picture of a semi-automatic handgun with the caption “Merrick Garland eradication tool” and a description of a dream about killing the attorney general. Other politicians who he allegedly made threats against included Vice President Kamala Harris, New York State Attorney General Letitia James and California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
In one Truth Social post highlighted by prosecutors, Robertson took aim at New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who has brought criminal charges against Trump stemming from a hush-money scheme before the 2016 election.
Robertson wrote: “Heading to New York to fulfill my dream of iradicating [sic] another…two-but political hach [sic] DAs.”
The post, cited in court documents, continued: “I want to stand over Bragg and put a nice hole in his forehead with my 9mm and watch him twitch as a drop of blood oozes from the hole as his life ebbs away to hell!!”
FBI agents approached Robertson at his house in March about a social media post, investigators wrote in an affidavit. Robertson would not speak to the agents, saying, “I said it was a dream!” and “We’re done here! Don’t return without a warrant.”
After the interaction, Robertson allegedly repeatedly threatened FBI agents online. One such Facebook post included in court documents said: “TO MY FRIENDS IN THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF IDIOTS: I KNOW YOU’RE READING THIS AND YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW CLOSE YOUR AGENTS CAME TO ‘BANG.’”
This story has been updated with additional information.