Family members of an elderly Provo, Utah, man killed outside his house Wednesday by FBI agents investigating threatening posts on his Facebook account have released a statement questioning the agents’ actions.
In a statement to KUTV-TV in Salt Lake City on Thursday afternoon, the family denied claims that he was a credible threat to President Joe Biden, who was visiting Utah that day.
Relatives of Craig Celeeuw Robertson, 75, described him as being of “advanced age, with limited mobility” and “largely homebound,” calling into question whether he was a serious danger.
His mobility difficulties were reportedly so severe that he drove to church, which was only about 200 yards from his home, instead of making the short trip on foot.
The family’s statement to KUTV went on to defend his online statements as free speech.
“Craig loved this country with all his heart,” they said.
“He saw it as a God-inspired and God-blessed land of liberty.”
The family went on to explain that with Robertson’s limited mobility, “there was very little he could do but exercise his First Amendment right to free speech and voice his protest in what has become the public square of our age — the internet and social media.”
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According to KSL-FM in Salt Lake City, one of the social media posts in question said, “Perhaps Utah will become famous this week as the place a sniper took out Biden the Marxist.”
On Monday, the outlet reported, Robertson said on Facebook, “I hear Biden is coming to Utah. Digging out my old ghillie suit and cleaning the dust of the M24 sniper rifle. Welcome, Buffoon-in-chief.”
Although the family acknowledged in the statement to KUTV that Robertson’s words were sometimes “intemperate,” they vehemently argued that he never would have acted in a manner deserving of any action by the FBI.
“He has never, and would never, commit any act of violence against another human being over a political or philosophical disagreement,” the family said.
“He was active in his local church congregation and loved the Lord Jesus Christ with all his heart.”
Further muddying the waters are unanswered questions about the exact events preceding the death, which are still under investigation.
Deseret News reported that no official FBI statement had indicated whether Robertson had a weapon, but an anonymous source allegedly told The New York Times that he was indeed armed.
Regardless of the outcome, the family said they “hold no personal animosity” toward the agents and asked for “time and space” to process their grief.
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