FBI agents shot and killed a man in Provo early Wednesday who federal prosecutors say threatened to kill President Joe Biden ahead of his Utah visit this week.
The FBI did not immediately identify the man killed. But a criminal complaint that the U.S. Attorney’s office released to The Salt Lake Tribune on Wednesday indicates that he was Craig Robertson, whom federal prosecutors had recently charged with threats against the president.
Federal agents received a warrant for Robertson’s arrest on Tuesday, the document shows. Robertson was also charged with interstate threats and retaliating against federal law enforcement.
According to the complaint, Robertson had posted to social media on Monday, “I HEAR BIDEN IS COMING TO UTAH.”
“DIGGING OUT MY OLD GHILLE SUIT AND CLEANING THE DUST OFF THE M24 SNIPER RIFLE,” the post continued. “WELCOM, BUFFOON-IN-CHIEF! (sic)”
The FBI shooting happened at about 6:15 a.m. Wednesday as agents were serving arrest and search warrants at a Provo home, Sandra Barker, an FBI spokesperson with the agency’s Salt Lake City division, said.
Barker did not provide an approximate address for the home or shooting scene. But the complaint indicates Robertson lived in Provo, and Utah County property records indicate his home is located near 400 North and 1220 West in the city.
FBI had previously surveilled Robertson
Robertson had been on agents’ radar since at least March 19, when the agency’s National Threat Operations Center received a tip from an unnamed social media company that a person with the username “@winston4eagles” had posted a threat to kill New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
At the time, Bragg was overseeing a criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump, the complaint states.
“I’ll be waiting in the courthouse parking garage with my suppressed Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm to smoke a radical fool prosecutor that should never have been elected,” the post read in part, according to the complaint.
After the tip, two FBI agents began to surveil Robertson’s Provo home in March, where they saw a man later confirmed to be Robertson getting into a vehicle registered to him and driving “a short distance northbound into the parking lot of a church.”
The nearest church to Robertson’s home is a meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, located at 450 N. 1220 West, about a block away. The lay leader of the local congregation confirmed Wednesday that Robertson lived alone within his ward boundaries.
At the time Robertson left for church, he was wearing a hat that read “TRUMP” and a dark suit with an AR-15-style rifle pin attached to his lapel, the complaint states.
Several hours later, Robertson exited the church, got into his vehicle and drove the short distance home, the complaint notes. Outside the house, the agents approached him, where one called out, “Mr. Robertson?”
When Robertson answered, the agents identified themselves, the complaint states. During their conversation, Robertson admitted he used the social media username “@winston4eagles,” and when the agents said they would like to speak with him regarding a post he made, Robertson said: “I said it was a dream!”
“We’re done here!” Robertson continued, according to the complaint. “Don’t return without a warrant!”
Social media posts show history of threats
As agents continued to investigate Robertson, they found more social media posts that appeared to indicate Robertson owned numerous firearms, including a sniper rifle, as well as a ghillie suit, and had made “violent threats to murder public officials.”
One such post, which appears to have been made to Facebook in 2022, according to the complaint, read, “THE TIME IS RIGHT FOR A PRESIDENTIAL ASSASSINATION. FIRST JOE THEN KAMALA!!!”
The posts also indicate that Robertson intended to impede, intimidate and retaliate against the FBI, the complaint states. One such post read, “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,” the post continued.
Robertson’s federal arrest warrant was approved on Tuesday, the day after Robertson had posted about Biden’s visit to Utah, the complaint indicates.
Unclear if Robertson fired at FBI
It is not clear whether Robertson was armed or opened fire when FBI agents shot and killed him Wednesday.
Barker, with the FBI, did not say whether any FBI agents were injured.
“The FBI takes all shooting incidents involving our agents or task force members seriously,” Barker said in a statement. In accordance with FBI policy, the shooting is being investigated by the agency’s Inspection Division.
Provo police on Wednesday afternoon reported that they were told Tuesday that FBI agents intended to serve a federal arrest warrant in Provo on Wednesday. Police did not assist in the serving of the warrant but said that after the shooting, the agency was “supporting the FBI while they conduct a continuing investigation.”
No further details were released Wednesday afternoon.
The clerk’s office for the U.S. District Court of Utah said they did not have any more public information they could share regarding the case.
This marks the 14th law enforcement shooting in Utah this year, according to a database maintained by The Salt Lake Tribune.
— Tribune staff writer Emily Anderson Stern contributed to this report.