A robotic police dog named 'Roscoe' created by Boston Dynamics took a bullet and helped avert a fatal shooting, police say

  • Massachusetts state police say a suspect shot a Boston Dynamics robot dog during a SWAT standoff.

  • The company said it was the first time one of its robot dogs took a bullet.

  • Police -reform advocates have criticized robotic police dogs for being overpriced and ineffective.

Man's best friend (in robot form) would apparently take a bullet for you.

State troopers used three robots developed by Boston Dynamics to flush out a suspect hiding in a residence after shooting at police in Barnstable, Massachusetts, earlier this month, state police said.

One of them was a four-legged SPOT model named "Roscoe," a police news release said.

The suspect knocked over Roscoe before shooting the robot three times with a rifle when he found it had righted itself and was following him up the stairs of the home.

He then opened fire on a bomb-disarming robot outside, missing and hitting an above-ground pool before police bombarded the house with tear gas and the man surrendered, the release said.

"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," the statement said.

Police use of robot "dogs" has faced scrutiny from critics and police-reform advocates who say they are overpriced and ineffective. The base SPOT model retails at just under $75,000. Former New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio's spokesperson, Bill Neidhart, called the robots from Boston Dynamics "creepy" and "alienating" when asked about the NYPD's use of the robots in 2021, The New York Times reported.

The discourse around the robots picked up in August 2023 when a naked man was captured on video dragging a Houston Police robot — also made by Boston Dynamics — into his hotel room during a SWAT standoff, easily overpowering the device.

Massachusetts state police said their robot dog provided "critically important room clearance and situational awareness capabilities" during the standoff and prevented police from needing to send humans or real dogs into the house, keeping officers out of the line of fire.

Boston Dynamics did not immediately return a request for comment from Business Insider. The company told The Associated Press in a statement that this is the first of its robot dogs that has been shot.

"We are relieved that the only casualty that day was our robot," the company said. "It's a great example of how mobile robots like Spot can be used to save lives."

Police sent the robot to Boston Dynamics to remove the bullets, and the company will send a new model to the state police, the report said.

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