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:
The suspect told police that he was upset about the recent shootings of Philandro Castile and Alton Sterling 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 maneuver. The robot was used after five police officers were killed and at least six other officers and civilians were wounded.
Some are reporting that the operation was similar to a technique often used in Iraq, involving MARCbots. We’ve reached out to the Dallas Police Department to confirm these details.
Another popular police robot called Packbot, built by Endeavor Robotics, 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 Ordnance Robot” to dismantle one of the attackers bags. However, that shooter was eventually killed by police gunfire.
A 2014 report, collected by Bard College, says that the Dallas police department owned three such bomb disposal robots.
Update: In a 2014 “Identification and Utilization of Department Equipment” document, you can see a picture of Dallas’ three bomb removal robots.
It would appear that one robot on the far right could be a Northrop Grumman Remotec Andros F6, though others have suggested that military bots like the MARCbot or Packbot could be more likely candidates as they are commonly acquired through the Pentagon’s 1033 military surplus program. You can even find them on Craigslist.
Additional reporting by Michael Nuñez