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Ohio Man Charged with Shooting Robot

Singularity Hub – by David J. Hill

In what is sure to be only the beginning of human vs. robot confrontations, a surveillance robot belonging to the police was recently shot after a six-hour standoff with a 62-year-old heavily inebriated man.

As reported by the Ohio-based Chillicothe Gazette, officers in the town of Waverly responded to a complaint that shots were fired inside a bedroom in a home and that the homeowner had more guns and was threatening others. Police knocked on the door, called on the phone, and even brought in a trained negotiator, but the man refused to speak to anyone for several hours. So the officers contacted the Pike County Sheriff’s Department and the Highway Patrol’s Strategic Response Team for assistance.

What officers got was two search robots.

First, a camera-equipped robot entered the home to locate the man and the guns. A second larger bot was then sent in, but when the owner spotted it, he opened fire with a small caliber pistol damaging it. Shortly afterward, police finally entered the home and used an electronic stun device to subdue him. After being issued a search warrant, authorities found a number of firearms within the residence, including two AK47 rifles and a 75-round ammunition drum, which is illegal in Ohio.

After being evaluated by medical doctors and mental health officials, he will be charged with two felony counts of unlawful possession of a dangerous ordinance and vandalism of government property, among other charges.

Just as the military continues to use robots in dangerous situations to humans, police departments are embracing technologies such as automated license-plate readersface ID scannerstaser camerasfacial recognition softwaredrones, and now robots. In fact, last November another Ohio police department was showing off the recently acquired $11k AVATAR surveillance robot from RoboteX that will assist the SWAT team.

Robots like these are increasingly being used in standoffs in which armed people are not cooperating with police. For example, a related event occurred last year in Utah when two cousins who were roommates got into an argument and shots were fired. When SWAT arrived, one cousin surrendered but the other refused to come out. He did, however, surrender his shotgun when the police sent a robot in.

Police departments are looking to high-tech systems to make it even easier to catch lawbreakers and to protect the lives of officers. While there are certainly concerns about privacy and individual rights when the authorities have the kind of power that these technologies afford, a robot is much safer to interact with than an actual police officer. After all, the consequence of the intoxicated Ohio man’s action is to be charged with damage to police equipment rather than, at the least, attempted murder charges if he had fired upon police.

Incidents between citizens and police robots will be on the rise as more bots are brought into service. Hopefully, we can remember that a potentially deadly armed standoff resulted in no one being hurt, thanks to technology and those who use it responsibly.

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10 Responses to Ohio Man Charged with Shooting Robot

  1. Mark Schumacher - NV says:

    This just gets better and better.

  2. Theobromine- NY says:

    OK. According to the article the guy is in his own home – alone- and they hear shots fired. They get nosy and he tells them to get a life. Nosy idiot neighbors call police and he just wants to be left alone. But they HARASS – knock, bullhorn and phone him and then compromise his property and send in a MACHINE Robot. HEY, nosy neighbors – my husband gets out the BB gun when he sees a mouse in the living room – and he uses them for target practice! Gets ’em! NOT a problem. WTH you callin’ the police for? Shot a wood chuck in the basement with a 45 too. “And he had more guns”. That’s what this is about. Gun mania. Mind your own business people. And H yeah shoot the robots – all of ’em. It’s still your house – but not for long the way these sheeple are being brainwashed. It’s their neighborhood and they want to control when you take a sh**. You people will be the first in line to hide behind anyone with a gun WTSHTF. I’m not wasting any ammo on or for you. Too precious. Don’t worry. I have a right to defend my life – and there is no saying that robot isn’t armed in some way. He had a right to shoot it. It was in his BEDROOM for pete’s sake. That’s as far as he should have to fall back from a threat before opening fire.

  3. CJ says:

    Should give it back to them – as a box of parts.

  4. diggerdan says:

    They say that if it wasn`t for that damned robot that he could have been charged with attempted murder of a cop If the cops went in his house, well how about when a cop shoots somebody – they get a payed vacation. Why don`t the damned cops get it for attempted murder or murder if they kill or injure the wrong suspect. I have a county cop that lives across the road from me, I wonder what would happen if I had one of those hobby planes or helicopters and flew them over to his house. How would they like it – would I be breaking the law if I had a camera mounted on one of those helicopters to spy on the damned cop like they do to people? If he shot it down would he be found guilty for shooting down my little hobby helicopter? THEY LIKE TO SPY ON US ALL THEN WE SHOULD SPY ON THEM BACK. GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO SWEAT /WORRY ABOUT FOR ONCE.

    • RobW says:

      Hey digger,
      Wonder how many departments have these things, and use them for missions other than disposal of suspect explosives? I doubt if there are many in NW WI. yet. The state cops have been testing drones on hwy70, though, for ticketing speeders. Robots are cheap to produce, and the guvmint pays big bucks for them. Big business will be selling the shit out of them, so this story is probably just the first of many.
      Be well, Rob

  5. Steve says:

    Technically, The article is incorrect as it pertains to the legality of a 75 round drum.

    They are 100% LEGAL to purchase and own in the state of Ohio.

    It is ILLEGAL to enter more than 31 rounds total in any gun, anywhere in the state.

  6. NC says:


    Now it looks like robots have more rights than humans do!

    First animals and now robots. Boy they just keep lowering us humans down to the bottom of the food chain.

    So before, if we shot a police dog, that was the equivalent of shooting a police officer.

    Now if we shoot a police robot, we are also shooting the equivalent of a police officer??


  7. NC says:

    I would have taken the robot and put it in a box and stuck it in the closet, but then I probably would have been charged with “obstruction of justice” as we all know that the robot has more rights than I do. Now we should be apologizing to robots? Pathetic.

  8. flek says:

    Herfguns aren’t illegal yet.


  9. Bullwinkle says:

    Next those little robots will have a gun barrel mounted.

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