Robot dog company celebrates its first shooting: ‘We are relieved that the only casualty that day was our robot’

A robotic dog is being thanked by Massachusetts State Police for helping to avert a tragedy involving a person barricaded in a home.

The dog named Roscoe was part of the Massachusetts State Police bomb squad and was deployed March 6 to a home in Barnstable after police fired shots. Police sent two more robots often used for bomb disposal into the house to find the suspect along with Roscoe.

The robot dog, controlled remotely by state police, first checked the two main floors before finding someone in the basement. The person, armed with a rifle, ran over Roscoe twice before shooting him three times, disabling his communication.

The person then shot at one of the other robots and an outdoor swimming pool before police fired tear gas and arrested them.

“The incident provided a clear example of the benefits of mobile platforms capable of opening doors and climbing ladders in tactical missions involving armed suspects,” state police said in a statement. “In addition to providing critically important room clearance and situational awareness capabilities, placing Roscoe at the suspected residence avoided the need, at that stage of the response, to insert human operators, and may have prevented a police officer of being involved in an exchange of gunfire.”

Boston Dynamics, the company that made the SPOT robots, said in a statement that it was the first time they had shot one of them.

“We are relieved that the only casualty that day was our robot,” the company said. “It’s a great example of how mobile robots like Spot can be used to save lives.”

Authorities have not identified the shooter or said what charges they face.

Roscoe was sent to Boston Dynamics to remove the bullets. He will remain in the company and a new unit will be sent to the State Police.

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