The 75-year-old Utah man who died in a shootout with FBI agents Wednesday was a former active duty airman first class, the Air Force confirmed. FBI agents had tried to apprehend Craig Deleeuw Robertson for making threats against President Joe Biden and other U.S. officials, according to court documents.
An Air Force spokesman said Robertson had enlisted in the U.S. Air Force on Feb. 2, 1970 during the Vietnam War, as a “metalworker helper” — a role that no longer exists. He served “four years or fewer,” Air Force spokesperson Michael T. Dickerson said, adding that he’d been assigned to Chanute Air Force Base, which closed in 1993.
In his civilian life, Robertson worked as a structural steel and welding inspector before retiring and turning to woodwork, according to his LinkedIn account.
The FBI tried to arrest Roberston at his home in Provo, Utah, after the former airman made threats to President Joe Biden in Robertson’s Truth Social and Facebook accounts, according to the AP. A shootout ensued and Robertson was killed at 6:15 a.m. Wednesday, in Provo, Utah, according to a statement from the FBI’s Salt Lake City field office to Military Times.
The confrontation came just hours before Biden landed in the state to mark the one-year anniversary of the passage of the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act, or PACT Act, which dramatically expand benefits for veterans facing toxic exposure injuries.
Robertson had threatened FBI agents in social media postings back in March, when they tried to approach his Provo home to question him about threats against other federal officials, according to the Justice Department filing: “To my friends in the Federal Bureau of Idiots: I know you’re reading this and you have no idea how close your agents came to ‘violent eradication.’”
Robertson’s accounts showed videos of the former airman wearing camouflage netting like a “ghillie” suit, and holding a M24 sniper weapons system rifle, according to the Truth Social account referenced in the court documents.
Allison Erickson is a journalist and U.S. Army Veteran. She covered military and veterans' affairs as the 2022 Military Veterans in Journalism fellow with The Texas Tribune and continues to cover the military community. She has written and reported on topics such as migration, politics, and health.