Craig Robertson, who the Salt Lake City FBI killed in an early morning raid today, is already becoming a conservative rallying cry after reports revealed him to be “about 80 years old with limited mobility.”
Deseret News spoke with local resident Cooper Robinson, who told the newspaper that he was walking his dog early in the morning. He saw “several unmarked vehicles, including an armored truck” blocking the street. According to the complaint, the FBI was executing search and arrest warrants over death threats Robertson made to public officials, including President Joe Biden.
In one, he wrote, ““I HEAR BIDEN IS COMING TO UTAH. DIGGING OUT MY OLD GHILLE [camoflauge] SUIT AND CLEANING THE DUST OFF THE M24 SNIPER RIFLE. WELCOM, BUFFOON-IN-CHIEF!”
Robinson told Deseret News he heard agents yelling “Craig Robertson, please come out with your hands up,” then what seemed to him to be the sound of “three or four flashbang grenades.”
Robinson said that he heard “shouting and some yelling, I couldn’t pick out what they were saying. But at some point I did hear five shots fired.”
Robinson “engaged the FBI in a gunfight when agents tried to serve a warrant on him,” CBS News claimed, citing law enforcement sources.
The Salt Lake City FBI’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment about whether any its agents were injured or what precipitated the shooting.
“I don’t really care who’s president,” Robinson told Desert News. “I don’t think it’s cool to make threats like that, whether they’re legitimate threats or not … I’m just hoping that the FBI has some more evidence besides Facebook posts to want to raid his house like they did.”
Robinson’s statement, although independently offered, echoed some of the sentiment online around the killing by the right-wing, who already believe the FBI overreacted.
Although the complaint noted that the FBI previously visited Robertson, and his social media posts pledged to be armed the next time agents arrived, some conservatives are already claiming he was chosen for extermination, the target of an overzealous FBI that is doing everything it can to protect the Bidens.
Posts discussed his weight and possible disability, with one alleging he was also a veteran, all implying he wasn’t a threat.
A tweet saying, “75 year old man who needed a cane to walk was selected for extermination by the FBI. Notice that none of the actual death threats against Trump led to this response. Dark times ahead,” got nearly 2,00 likes.
“What did we learn today? Make sure you DO NOT make any anti-Joe Biden remarks on social media or your home will be raided by federal authorities, and you will be killed. Joe Biden is the top crime boss in the land, and must be respected as such. All hail Joey!” wrote one.
“Another FBI sanctioned murder” added one.
“Remember Waco and Ruby Ridge,” posted another, referencing long-time right-wing anger over the federal government’s behavior against dissident citizens while Democrats held power.
Many users tried to compare how the scenario would be different if Trump were in office, referencing the numerous social media posts made about him, again ignoring the fact that the FBI once already peaceably visited Robertson.
One user on Twitter, whose identity the Daily Dot could not independently confirm, tweeted at 10:54am that “the FBI just shot and killed an elderly brother in our ward. Financial clerk for years. Sweet guy. Full swat team. My wife is good friends with his neighbor, she and her 5 year old were terrorized. Wife went to check on her. His body is still laying in the street. My God.”
“This guy was a threat to no one,” he wrote in another tweet. “He was an elderly 300lb guy who could barely walk with a cane. Took care of his disabled adult son. Liked to make furniture. My God what is this country coming to?!”
The user didn’t respond to a request for comment for more information about the incident.
Some even painted a larger conspiracy.
“The articles I read all said he was 80 years old, overweight with a cane. The front window was smashed from the OUTSIDE. These photos and the story do not make sense. Who would even post that, let alone a senior citizen???”