The FBI on Wednesday conducted a deadly pre-dawn raid on the home of an elderly, overweight, and "barely mobile" Utah man who allegedly posted numerous death threats on social media against President Joe Biden and other politicians, Breitbart reported.
The shooting death of Craig Robertson in his Provo home, which occurred mere hours before Biden arrived for a visit to Salt Lake City, has sparked shock and outrage among some over an apparent lack of due process and unnecessary use of excessive and lethal force by the FBI in summarily executing the suspect in a hail of gunfire.
The 6 am raid was ostensibly conducted in order to serve an arrest and search warrant against Robertson, who had been charged with three federal felony counts that included making interstate threats, making threats against the president, and making threats against federal law enforcement.
To be sure, as reported by NBC News, the threats that Robertson is alleged to have made on social media over the past year, and especially in recent months, were particularly detailed and graphic in describing the lethal violence the elderly supporter of former President Donald Trump wished to exact against his political opposition.
In addition to threatening a sniper attack against President Biden, the suspect also allegedly leveled assassination threats against 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.
It was Robertson's alleged description in March of a desired ambush attack against Bragg, who around that time criminally indicted Trump, that resulted in a tip to the FBI, which subsequently opened an investigation into Robertson and surveilled him for several months after an initial visit by two agents to question him about the alleged threats was rebuffed with a demand that they come back with a warrant.
Following that visit from the agents, the suspect then reportedly began to post numerous death threats against members of the federal investigative bureau.
"The FBI takes all shooting incidents involving our agents or task force members seriously," the bureau said in a statement, according to ABC News. "In accordance with FBI policy, the shooting incident is under review by the FBI's Inspection Division. As this is an ongoing matter, we have no further details to provide."
Per an unnamed source, the outlet reported that the FBI formally opened an investigation into Robertson and his threats of violence in April and subsequently informed the U.S. Secret Service of that probe in June. The source also claimed that the threats had been deemed "credible" and alleged that Robertson pointed a gun at agents during the raid -- though there are no confirmed reports that he actually engaged in an exchange of gunfire with them.
"The Secret Service is aware of the FBI investigation involving an individual in Utah who has exhibited threats towards a protectee," the federal protective agency said in a statement of its own, according to NBC News. "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."
Utah's Deseret News reported that several of Robertson's neighbors observed in real-time or quickly learned of the FBI's pre-dawn raid on the suspect's home that involved dozens of heavily armed agents, an armored vehicle, multiple flashbang grenades, and a battering ram to gain entry into the elderly, frail, and overweight man's house.
Robertson was almost universally described as a nice old man who had strong political opinions but was otherwise harmless and incapable of actually acting out any of the violent threats he had posted on various social media platforms.
"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," neighbor Travis Clark said. "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."
Neighbor Cooper Robinson described Robertson as a "big storyteller" who craved attention, and said, "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."