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Hero police robot back on duty after 'unstable man' blasts it with shotgun

Tin cop 'did its job', laughs off leaden hail from 12-bore

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A heroic police robot has returned to duty with a Nebraska force after being put out of action by an "unstable man" who blasted it repeatedly with a 12-bore* shotgun at point blank range during a tense siege this summer.

The story begins in Bellvue, Nebraska, on August 10. Ordinary fleshy plods responded to reports of an "unstable man with a gun", but were forced to beat a retreat on being greeted with a volley of shots. The SWAT team were called in, and as is nowadays routine, the tactical lawmen decided to send in a robot colleague to check out the lay of the land.

We learn courtesy of Applied Research Associates, the robot's maker, that:

Negotiations continued for several hours. During that period of time, the officer in control of the robot viewed the suspect emerging from the garage doorway attempting to close the garage door with his firearm in hand. He then fired four rounds from his 12 gauge shotgun at the robot, disabling it. Following that activity, teargas was introduced into the home and the suspect surrendered.

“Had we not deployed the [robot] there is a good chance we would have had SWAT officers much closer to that doorway and possibly in harm’s way,” said Dave Stukenholtz, Criminal Investigations Bureau Commander for Bellevue Police Department.

“It did its job,” boasted Bob Quinn of ARA. “Anytime a robot is shot, it’s an example of keeping an officer out of the line of fire. Not only did the robot keep SWAT officers informed of suspect activity, but it’s rugged enough that even after four rounds at close range, it’s fixable and quickly ready to rejoin the team in Nebraska.”

That said, though the tin cop is now fully repaired and back on duty with the Bellevue SWAT team as of today, it's perhaps not as robust as certain other mechanical lawmen. A robot plod in Florida last year - having been riddled with bullets by a nude man armed with an AK47 assault rifle - remained functional enough to beat a hasty retreat. Another metallic public servant in Tennessee was plainly even tougher, as mounted an uncompromising assault on a heavily armed man which left his home a smoking ruin.

That said, still another mechanised policeman was defeated by a Connecticut man in January without the need even to use firearms: in that case the luckless tin cop was hurled through a door after a hand-to-hand struggle. At least the now-repaired Bellevue machine can console itself with the knowledge that it took heavy gunfire to put it down.

It's plain that the ongoing struggle between the machines and humanity is far from one-sided. ®

Bootnote

*12-gauge, for our US readers. Reports don't specify what kind of rounds the unstable gunman had loaded, but we here on the Reg tin-cop desk would speculate that he probably wasn't using solid slugs or it might have been cheaper to just get a new robot.

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