According to Dallas Police chief David Brown, after hours of negotiations failed with a cornered suspect at the El Centro College in Dallas, officers sent in a robot to detonate a bomb and kill the suspect.
This is what Brown said during a Friday morning press conference:
We saw no other option but to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension for it to detonate where the suspect was. Other options would have exposed the officers to grave danger.
Here’s a video from that particular portion of the press conference via NBC News:
The suspect told police that he was upset about the recent shootings and wanted to kill white people, “especially white officers”, according to The Atlantic. Brown corrected the record with original reports saying the suspected gunman had killed himself. The suspect was in fact killed by this robot/bomb manoeuvre. The robot was used after five police officers were killed and at least six other officers and civilians were wounded.
Yes, this is 1st use of robot in this way in policing. Marcbot has been ad hoc used this way by troops in Iraq. https://t.co/FfrsgLS2x1
— Peter W. Singer (@peterwsinger) 8 July 2016
Another popular police robot called Packbot, built by iRobot, has been used in several police operations, including the Boston Marathon bomber manhunt in 2013. However, none of these bots were directly intended or used to injure or kill a suspect.
In an attack on a Dallas Police station in 2015, officers also deployed an “Explosive Ordinance Robot” to dismantle one of the attackers bags. However, that shooter was eventually killed by police gunfire.
— Dallas Police Depart (@DallasPD) 13 June 2015
It’s unclear whether this is the first lethal use of a robot in American policing, although according to some experts it is.