Mass. State Police Robot Dog Shot 3 Times in Tense Barricade Incident

March 27, 2024
A gunman opened fire on "Roscoe"—the Massachusetts State Police's Boston Dynamics-designed robotic dog—when it was deployed to help a Cape Cod SWAT unit during a standoff.

A robot dog took bullets during a tense, armed barricade situation on Cape Cod earlier this month, and police say the droid’s deployment helped to prevent injuries to human officers.

“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,” Massachusetts State Police spokesman Dave Procopio said in a statement.

“In addition to providing critically important room clearance and situational awareness capabilities, the insertion of (the robot) into the suspect residence prevented the need, at that stage of response, from inserting human operators, and may have prevented a police officer from being involved in an exchange of gunfire,” Procopio continued.

On March 6, police released a robot designed and manufactured by Boston Dynamics into a Francis Circle residence in Barnstable to assist a Cape Cod SWAT team during a barricade situation in which the person of interest was armed with a rifle. They also deployed two PackBot 510 from Virginia-based Teledyne FLIR LLC.

The Spot unit, so named by its manufacturer because of its dog-like size and four-legged design, that police named “Roscoe” was released to the basement. It cleared a closet there before it was surprised by the man with the gun who came out of a bedroom, according to Massachusetts State Police.

The man knocked Roscoe over and then walked up the stairs. The officer remotely controlling Roscoe was able to right the robot and then follow the target up the stairs.

“When the suspect realized, with apparent surprise, that Roscoe was behind him on the stairs, he again knocked the robot over and then raised his rifle in Roscoe’s direction,” the MSP wrote in a statement. “The robot suddenly lost communications.”

Police would later learn that Roscoe had taken three bullets, disabling it.

The man then turned his attention to the two PackBot 510 robots. The robots are rubber-tracked with a central arm that the company describes as specializing in “bomb disposal, surveillance and reconnaissance” as well as detecting chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats and handling hazardous materials.

As the man was distracted by those two robots, according to the MSP, police were able to release tear gas into the home. The man would soon surrender.

Teledyne FLIR said that its Unmanned Ground Systems division, maker of the PackBots, is based in Chelmsford, and that the company has “been supporting the Mass State Police for many years, going back to when they used PackBots during the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013.”

“Nothing makes us prouder than when one of our robots assists law enforcement in the line of duty and possibly saves lives. All credit goes to the officers who responded to this incident,” spokesman Joe Ailinger, Jr. told the Herald of the PackBots, which have been around since 2001 and are in use by military and law enforcement in more than 40 countries. “We’re pleased our robotic technology was able to play a role.”

Trooper John Ragosa, the MSP bomb squad member who was controlling Roscoe, took him to Boston Dynamics to have the damage assessed. The company, the MSP says, has expressed interest in keeping the shot-up unit for study. Procopio said the MSP will be replacing their Spot unit.

The Herald has reached out to Boston Dynamics for comment.


©2024 MediaNews Group, Inc.

Visit at

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Sponsored Recommendations

Build Your Real-Time Crime Center

March 19, 2024
A checklist for success

Whitepaper: A New Paradigm in Digital Investigations

July 28, 2023
Modernize your agency’s approach to get ahead of the digital evidence challenge

A New Paradigm in Digital Investigations

June 6, 2023
Modernize your agency’s approach to get ahead of the digital evidence challenge.

Listen to Real-Time Emergency 911 Calls in the Field

Feb. 8, 2023
Discover advanced technology that allows officers in the field to listen to emergency calls from their vehicles in real time and immediately identify the precise location of the...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Officer, create an account today!