PROVO, Utah (AP) — A utility worker threatened at gunpoint five years ago by a Utah man who was killed last week by FBI agents seeking to arrest him on charges of threatening President Joe Biden and others says he feared for his life during that encounter.
Caiden Taylor, who was then working as a Google Fiber subcontractor, told KSL-TV he ran quickly after Craig Robertson confronted him with a gun outside his Provo, Utah, home and accused the workers of trespassing on his property.
“I was actually up on the power pole with a whole spool of cable when he came out,” Taylor told KSL. “And I’ve never climbed down a ladder faster in my life."
A Provo police incident report describes how Taylor and another worker initially rang Robertson's doorbell to tell him they planned to access the utility pole via a public easement through his backyard. They proceeded to set up their equipment after getting no answer until Robertson came into the backyard waving a handgun at them, accusing them of trespass. They told police that Robertson had pointed a gun at them — a charge he later denied to officers.
The men ran to their truck, called police, and watched as a SWAT team arrived, he said.
Taylor recorded a video of police arriving, in which he can be heard describing Robertson as being locked in his house, according to KSL. The additional details add to an incident report released earlier this week to media outlets, including The Associated Press and KSL, in which officers described the encounter as “a bit of a standoff.”
The August 2018 incident provides context to the contrasting portraits of Robertson given by authorities and those who knew him. Officials described Robertson as dangerous to those he had threatened online while neighbors and family members described him as an elderly, churchgoing man who would do no harm.
Robertson was killed last Wednesday after officers arrived to arrest him at his home in Provo, hours before Biden was scheduled to arrive in Salt Lake City. In charging documents, authorities accused Robertson of making threats against Biden, high-profile Democrats and FBI agents, referencing “assassination” and posting pictures of weapons including long-range sniper rifles.
Though family members and neighbors rebuffed the idea that Robertson would or could have hurt anyone despite the threats, Taylor's recollections and the police report illustrate his willingness to brandish firearms.
Although drawing weapons in front of multiple people “in an angry and threatening manner” is a misdemeanor in Utah, Provo police ultimately determined Robertson was within his constitutional rights and he was not charged.
“I was just there to do a job,” Taylor said.
The Associated Press