'Bomb robot' used to kill sniper for first time
Dallas police ended a sniper with a gunman yesterday by remotely detonating a "bomb robot" to kill the gunman - an unprecedented tactic by officers who said they were in danger.
The move rekindles concerns about the militarisation of local law enforcement in the United States.
"It's a first by police," said Peter Singer, author of 'Wired for War', a book on the use of robots in conflict zones.
He said the US military in Iraq had jury-rigged surveillance bots to take out insurgents in alleys.
US law enforcement has used remotely controlled devices before to help stop a suspect, but not to kill anyone.
"We saw no other option but to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension for it to detonate where the suspect was," said Dallas Police Chief David Brown on Friday.
"Other options would have exposed officers to grave danger."
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said the gunman had been asked to surrendeer but chose to remain in place.
It was not clear exactly why the police chose to use a bomb rather than another means of subduing Johnson.
It was also unclear whether police had trained in the use of the "bomb robot" or whether it was improvised.