Dallas police said Friday they used a robot bomb to kill one of the shooting suspects who was in a standoff with officers overnight.
Police had cornered the suspect in a parking garage after a multiple “snipers” had shot cops and transit officers who were overseeing a rally downtown protesting recent police-involved shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota. At least 12 officers and two civilians were shot in Dallas, with five officers left dead.
“We cornered one suspect and we tried to negotiate for several hours,” Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown said in a press conference Friday morning.
“Negotiations broke down and we had an exchange of gunfire with the suspect,” he said. “We saw no other option but to use our bomb robot and place a device on it for it to detonate where the suspect was. Other options would have exposed our officers to grave danger. The suspect is deceased, as a result of the detonating of the bomb.”
The suspect reportedly told police that he was “upset about Black Lives Matter” and that he “wanted to kill white people.”
Peter Singer, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation and an expert on security issues, said on Twitter that he believes this is the “first use of a robot in this way in policing.”
He noted that similar robots have been used in this way by American troops in Iraq.
It’s possible this was not the intended purpose of whatever type of robot police used in this case — Singer speculated that this could be a remote-operated surveillance robot that police rigged with a bomb.
Such robots used in combat are called MARCbots, and they look like this:
Singer said troops in Iraq used duct tape to rig mines to these surveillance robots as a way to kill insurgents, presumably without putting troops in direct contact with them.
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