Massachusetts State Police Robot Dog Shot During Standoff

by Lisa

Officials reported that a Massachusetts State Police robot dog was shot during a standoff on Cape Cod this month, highlighting the role of technology in enhancing safety for law enforcement in hazardous situations.

The incident marks the first time a Massachusetts State Police robot dog, named Roscoe, was shot while on duty, as well as the first instance of one of Boston Dynamics’ renowned Spot robots being shot during operations, according to representatives speaking to NBC10 Boston.


Roscoe was targeted during a standoff with a barricaded man in the Hyannis section of Barnstable on March 6, police disclosed. The tense standoff led to the evacuation of local schools and took several hours to resolve, ultimately resulting in the apprehension of 30-year-old Justin Moreira.


The standoff ensued after a 911 call reporting a person holding another individual at knifepoint. Despite the escape of the individual being held, Moreira allegedly engaged in gunfire with officers upon their arrival, including shots directed at a SWAT vehicle and sporadic firing near surrounding officers.


In response, state police deployed three robots, including Roscoe, to locate Moreira within the residence. Roscoe, after clearing the upper floors, identified Moreira in the basement, armed with a rifle. Upon encountering the robot dog, Moreira knocked it down and proceeded upstairs. Despite Roscoe’s attempt to follow, Moreira struck the robot again and fired three shots, disrupting communication with its operator.


Photographs released by police depicted Roscoe with gunshot wounds to its side and neck. Moreira also targeted another robot outside but missed. Ultimately, police took him into custody after deploying tear gas.

State police emphasized the importance of mobile platforms like Roscoe in providing room clearance and situational awareness during tactical operations involving armed suspects. They credited Roscoe’s deployment with minimizing the need to expose human operators to potential gunfire.

Moreira later appeared in court, facing charges related to firing more than 30 rounds during the standoff.

The day following the shooting, Roscoe was brought to Boston Dynamics, its manufacturer, for bullet removal and assessment of damage. Boston Dynamics expressed pride in the robot’s role in assisting law enforcement and reaffirmed its commitment to developing technology that enhances safety without weaponization.

Highlighting the incident in a recent blog post, Boston Dynamics emphasized the value of Spot robots in volatile situations, noting their ability to provide critical information to officials while minimizing human risk. Despite the damage sustained, officers were able to safely arrest the suspect, underscoring the potential of robotics in law enforcement operations.


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