In a dramatic turn of events, an armed Utah man accused of issuing violent threats against President Joe Biden has been shot and killed by FBI agents just hours before the president’s scheduled visit to the state.
The incident unfolded at approximately 6:15 a.m. when special agents attempted to serve a warrant at the residence of Craig Deleeuw Robertson in Provo, located south of Salt Lake City, according to an official statement from the FBI.
Robertson, who was armed at the time of the shooting, was known for posting online threats against several public figures, including President Biden, as well as law enforcement officials linked to cases involving former President Donald Trump.
Despite his seemingly frail appearance, Robertson’s online persona revealed a different side. Court documents indicated that he owned firearms, including a long-range sniper rifle, and camouflage gear. His threatening posts led to him being charged with three felony counts, encompassing threats against the president, FBI agents, and other public officials.
The confrontation drew attention from President Biden himself, who had arrived in Utah to discuss the PACT Act and attend a reelection fundraiser. The White House revealed that Biden had been briefed on the situation following the incident.
Authorities revealed that the FBI investigation was initiated based on a tip about Robertson’s threats from the Truth Social platform, a social media platform created by Trump. Robertson’s account on the platform was subsequently suspended.
As the investigation unfolds, law enforcement officials are grappling with the challenge of discerning the boundary between free speech and actual threats, as highlighted by Rita Katz, co-founder of SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors online extremism.
Robertson’s unexpected demise has ignited debates surrounding the implications of online rhetoric and the fine line between protected speech and potential harm.
Biden’s visit to the Western United States, including his stops in New Mexico and Salt Lake City, continues amid a backdrop of heightened security and evolving discussions on the intersection of free expression and public safety.