Utah man killed in FBI raid had confronted Provo police with AR-15 before, records show

Two Google Fiber employees working in Craig Robertson’s backyard called police, saying Robertson threatened them with a gun.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Law enforcement investigate a home in Provo on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023. The FBI shot and killed a man who authorities say made threats to President Joe Biden ahead of his visit to Utah that day.

The 75-year-old Provo man who was killed in an FBI raid ahead of President Joe Biden’s visit to Utah last week had previously threatened police and others with a gun, according to Provo police records obtained Tuesday by The Salt Lake Tribune.

Craig Deleeuw Robertson allegedly pointed a gun at two Google Fiber workers who needed to access a utility pole in his backyard in 2018, Provo police records show. Officers investigated but Robertson was not arrested or charged.

The Tribune on Monday requested all Provo police reports and prior calls for service related to Robertson, and received the single 2018 report on Tuesday afternoon.

Robertson was shot and killed by federal agents at around 6:15 a.m. on Aug. 9 after he allegedly pointed a gun at them as they tried to arrest him, according to an FBI statement released Monday. He was facing federal charges for allegedly threatening the president, threatening New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg and retaliating against federal law enforcement.

Robertson had posted numerous threats on social media, a criminal complaint states, including a post on Aug. 7 that said, “I HEAR BIDEN IS COMING TO UTAH. DIGGING OUT MY OLD GHILLE SUIT AND CLEANING THE DUST OFF THE M24 SNIPER RIFLE. WELCOME, BUFFOON-IN-CHIEF!”

[More: Read the full criminal complaint, which includes social media posts from Robertson.]

His family said in a statement last week that Robertson was a “kind and generous person” who was “understandably frustrated and distraught by the present and on-going 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.”

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) A man wearing Donald Trump attire holds a flag at the scene where FBI agents shot and killed a man in Provo who authorities say made threats to President Joe Biden ahead of his Utah visit last week.

The Provo police report released Tuesday states that on Aug. 20, 2018, the two Google Fiber workers arrived at Robertson’s home, near 400 North and 1220 West, to connect a neighbor’s internet. They knocked on his door, but went to his backyard when Robertson didn’t answer.

Robertson soon exited his backdoor, allegedly waving a handgun, and yelled for the workers to get off his property, according to the report. One of the workers later told Provo police that Robertson pointed the gun at them as he brandished it.

The men called police, and a Provo officer rang Robertson’s doorbell when he arrived. Robertson answered the door holding an AR-15 rifle, “which triggered a bit of a stand off,” according to the police report.

The officer told Robertson to put down the gun, and Robertson initially refused. Eventually, the officer said, Robertson calmed down and put the rifle away.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Law enforcement investigate at Craig Robertson's Provo home on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023.

Robertson told the officer that he didn’t answer the door when the workers knocked because he was doing laundry and wasn’t dressed, the report states. He went upstairs to put on clothes, where he heard them enter his backyard and “was angry that the workers had left the gate open, which could lead to his dog getting out,” the police report states.

Robertson mentioned he didn’t see a company logo on their van (the report notes there wasn’t one), and he thought the men were trespassing, the report states. Robertson said he didn’t point or wave the gun around.

Instead, Robertson said that “while he had his firearm in view he was holding it against his body, muzzle down in a ready position,” the report states, “and did not wave it around or threaten the males with it.”

The officer spoke with a sergeant “regarding what I had been told by both parties,” and noted in the report “my belief that no actual crime had occurred and that [Robertson] had been exercising his 2nd Amendment rights, albeit a little recklessly.”

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Law enforcement investigate at Craig Robertson's Provo home on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023.

Provo police contacted the Utah County attorney’s office for another opinion, and prosecutors agreed with the officer, the report states.

The report adds that prosecutors said Robertson “may not have exercised good judgment but was acting within his Constitutional Rights.”

The officer stayed at Robertson’s home until the workers were done, then left the scene. The report mentioned police added a “names alert” in their system to flag calls involving Robertson.

Hours after the fatal FBI shooting, Provo police reported that they were told Aug. 8 that FBI agents intended to serve a federal arrest warrant in the city on Aug. 9. Provo officers did not assist in the serving of the warrant, but police said that after the shooting, the agency was “supporting the FBI while they conduct a continuing investigation.”

The shooting marked the 14th law enforcement shooting in Utah this year, according to a database maintained by The Tribune.