When sheriff’s deputies in LA County found themselves engaged in an hours-long standoff with a violent suspect, they were able to disarm him, eventually, with the help of a robot, whose arm is able to pick up small items.
The $300,000 Andros robot is normally used for bomb disposal, but the sheriff’s dept says, lately, the robot has been assisting officers more often during encounters with armed suspects.
On Sept 8, deputies in Lancaster were pursuing 51-year-old Brock Bunge, after he tried killing one person and robbing two others, the LA Times reported. Bunge fled into a remote field in the Antelope Valley, but a police chopper was able to track him down, near a dirt mound, where he was hiding out surrounded by shrubbery and wire fencing.
When Bunge refused to surrender several times, the SWAT team came in with armored vehicles. The standoff continued for another six hours. When officials deployed the robot, they got a better view of the hideout and the camera showed Bunge on his stomach, “with his rifle at his feet.”
The deputies then used numerous distractions while the “olive-colored robot” went in, extended its claw into the hideout, and grabbed the gun without Bunge noticing.
“The robot was a game changer here,” said Capt. Jack Ewell, a tactical expert with the Sheriff’s Department. “We didn’t have to risk a deputy’s life to disarm a very violent man.”
Bunge only realized the rifle was missing when the robot went back in to pull down the wiring around the hideout, Ewell said. He then surrendered immediately, the Times reported.
Bunge is charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, vandalism, robbery and making criminal threats.
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