Robot Dog Shot in the Line of Duty

'Roscoe' took 3 bullets in search for suspect in Massachusetts home
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2024 6:10 PM CDT
Robot Dog Shot in the Line of Duty
Police shared this image of the robot dog.   (Massachusetts State Police)

Boston Dynamics says a four-legged Spot robot that took three bullets during a standoff on Cape Cod earlier this month is the first of the robots to be shot while on duty. In a Facebook post, Massachusetts State Police said the robot dog, nicknamed Roscoe, was used to search a home for an "armed barricaded subject." Roscoe was being remotely controlled by a bomb squad trooper when the suspect "suddenly appeared from a bedroom armed with a rifle" and knocked the robot over. "Unbeknownst to the suspect, SPOT robots have a self-righting function," police said. They said that when the suspect "realized, with apparent surprise" that Roscoe was behind him on a staircase, he knocked the robot over again and raised his rifle. "The robot suddenly lost communications."

Police said Roscoe was shot three times in the side and "neck" by the suspect, who also fired at officers, a SWAT vehicle, and another robot, NBC News reports. Juan Moreno was safely arrested in the Barnstaple home after police deployed tear gas. "We are relieved that the only casualty that day was our robot," a Boston Dynamics rep tells NBC. "It's a great example of how mobile robots like Spot can be used to save lives."

Roscoe was returned to the company to have the bullets removed, the AP reports. The company is planning to keep it for research and will send police a new robot. The incident "provided a stark example of the benefits of mobile platforms capable of opening doors and ascending stairs in tactical missions involving armed suspects," police said. "The insertion of Roscoe into the suspect residence prevented the need, at that stage of response, from inserting human operators and a real dog, and may have prevented a police officer or K9 from being involved in an exchange of gunfire." (More robots stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.