‘I was just there to do a job’: Ex-utility worker recalls confrontation with Utahn later shot by FBI
Aug 16, 2023, 10:34 PM | Updated: Aug 17, 2023, 1:15 pm
PROVO, Utah – Before a Utah man pointed a revolver at the FBI agents who would shoot and kill him and before Provo police said he met other officers at his doorstep with a semiautomatic rifle, a former utility worker remembers fearing for his own life when he says Craig Deleeuw Robertson pointed a handgun at him in 2018.
“I was actually up on the power pole with a whole spool of cable when he came out,” Caiden Taylor recalled Wednesday in an interview with KSL. “And I’ve never climbed down a ladder faster in my life.”
FBI agents last week were trying to arrest Robertson, 75, for social media threats he was accused of making toward President Joe Biden ahead of Biden’s arrival in Salt Lake City. Charging documents allege Robertson also threatened the lives of other Democratic politicians and FBI agents in dozens of social media posts.
Taylor, 35, said he was working for a Google Fiber subcontractor in August 2018 when Robertson waved a handgun at Taylor and his coworker, telling them to get off Robertson’s property when they were setting up a neighbor’s line.
The pair explained why they were in his yard but “he did not care,” Taylor recalled. “It was just ‘Get off my (expletive) property, or else.’”
The workers had rung Robertson’s doorbell several times to tell him they’d be entering the yard, but when no one answered they went about their work, according to a Provo police report KSL obtained through a public records request.
“The muzzle did cross both of our paths,” Taylor told KSL. “We left our ladders set up and everything.” The men ran to their truck, called police, and watched as a SWAT team arrived, he said.
Taylor said he feared for his life. His experience illustrates the danger law enforcers, city employees and utility workers can face when they find themselves facing hostile homeowners wielding firearms.
Taylor shared a short video as police arrived and shared the recording with KSL. At one point, he’s heard saying, “Dude’s locked himself in his house.”
Robertson met officers at the door with an AR-15. He refused to come out at first, the police report states, but an officer managed to talk him down.
Officers stood by while the workers finished their job, the report says.
Robertson claimed he’d heard the doorbell ring when the workers arrived to let him know they’d start working in the yard, but he couldn’t get to the door in time, according to Provo police. He “was angry that the workers had left the gate open, which could lead to his dog getting out,” the police report says.
The officer consulted an on-call prosecutor in the Utah County Attorney’s Office and determined no crime had occurred, writing in the report that “Robertson had been exercising his 2nd amendment rights, albeit a little recklessly.”
Taylor, who told KSL he’s a gun owner himself and a Second Amendment proponent, said he’s surprised the homeowner didn’t face a criminal charge based on the confrontation.
In Utah, drawing or brandishing a weapon in front of multiple people “in an angry and threatening manner” is a class A misdemeanor.
But it would be hard for prosecutors to prove the case, said Tim Taylor, spokesperson for the Utah County Attorney’s Office. That’s in large part because Robertson was accused of waving the gun on his own property after he couldn’t see any logo on the truck in front of his home, and later told police he felt the men were trespassing, Taylor said.
Last week, Robertson’s neighbors described him as “anti-government” and said he did not like when city workers came to his yard but, but recalled him as churchgoing, nice and largely homebound. His family released a statement saying they are shocked and devastated, calling Robertson “a good and decent man.”
Caiden Taylor said he didn’t immediately recognize Robertson when news of the shooting broke last week, but friends helped him piece it together. He described his own encounter with Robertson as “surreal.”
“I was just there to do a job,” Caiden Taylor said.
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