Bomb To Kill A Dallas Shooting Suspect
Potentially the first use of a robot to kill in
By Dave Gershgorn
In the wake of
post-protest shootings that left five police
officers dead and seven others wounded, along with
two civilians, police traded gunfire last night with
a suspect inside a downtown Dallas parking garage.
Eventually, law enforcement sent a "bomb robot"
(most likely shorthand for a remotely controlled
bomb disposal robot) armed with an explosive, to the
suspect's location, then detonated the explosive,
killing the suspect.
"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 our
officers to great danger," said Dallas Police Chief
David O. Brown. "The suspect is deceased as a result
of detonating the bomb."
a robot that was created to prevent death by
explosion clearly contrasts with the way these
machines are normally used. Bomb disposal robots are
routinely used to minimize the potential of harm to
officers and civilians when disarming or clearing
potential explosives from an area. They are often
their own explosive charges and other tools, not
to kill, but detonate other potential bombs in the
police used a bomb disposal robot in another
major news story last year, when the Dallas
Police headquarters were attacked by a gunman who
planted explosives. That assailant was shot by
police, not killed by the bomb robot.
that the Dallas County Sheriff Department and
neighboring Duncanville Police Department each own a
MARCbot, another commonly-used bomb disposal robot.
previous images seen of the Dallas Police department
using bomb disposal robots, they appear to actually
Northrop Grumman Remotec Andros F6A or F6B, a
standard model for police and military use. It's
highly customizable, and can look very different
depending on which configuration of arm and sensors
are configured. The closest known Andros resides in
Comal County, Texas, 250 miles away.
police's use of this machine to kill raises
questions about how robots will be used in the
future. This may be the first example of a robot
being used by American police to kill a suspect,
notes University of California Davis law professor
contributing editor Peter W. Singer tweets that
similar tactics have been used before, although in a
military situation, when a surveillance robot was
used to kill an insurgent with a Claymore explosive.
unclear how police controlled the robot, but
wireless protocols can be easily intercepted or
altered by skilled hackers. Security researcher Matt
Blaze points out that the security of a machine like
this becomes more important once it's shown the
capacity to be used as a weapon.
images found of
Dallas a bomb disposal robot in action, the
robot appears to be controlled wirelessly. The
Andros robot can be operated wirelessly or with a
wired tether, according to the
Northrop Grumman website, but it's unclear which
mode Dallas Police used in this incident.