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Security and Defense
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Police Use Robot to Search School After Shooting Tragedy
Officials used a robot to see and hear inside a bathroom where the suspected shooter was known to be
By Judith Pfeffer - Filed Jun 12, 2014

This is a robot similar to the one used to help stabilize the tragic situation in Oregon on June 10.

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Officials say a robot helped law enforcement contain the situation after the school shooting at Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Oregon that left two people, including the gunman, dead.

Lt. Joel Wendland of the Troutdale Police Department was the one who called for the use of the robot, according to a receptionist at the police department. Wendland could not immediately be reached for comment.

The robot featured a camera and searched the school and discovered the shooter was dead inside a bathroom. With the robot able to see and hear what was going on, officers were able to safely enter the school.

At press time, the manufacturer, make and model of the robot could not be confirmed.

Such security robots are used increasingly by civilian law enforcement to quickly and safely obtain data on a possibly unstable, volatile, dangerous situation before sending in human or canine officers. Such robots have been used for years in active-duty military scenarios around the globe, including by American troops serving in Afghanistan.

Only a handful of companies currently manufacture these robots to provide "eyes before guys," including iRobot of Bedford, Mass., Recon Robotics of Edina, Minn., RoboteX of Sunnyvale, Calif., and SuperDroid Robots of Fuquay Varina, N.C.

Recon says it supplies robots to all FBI offices in the U.S.A., and RoboteX says most of the police departments on the West Coast use their products.

The fatal shooting, which also injured a teacher who was able to lock down the school, took place the morning of June 10 as final examinations were starting. Reynolds High School is one of Oregon’s largest with nearly 3,000 enrolled students.

Law enforcement officials have identified the victim as Emilio Hoffman, age 14, and his killer as Jared Michael Padgett, age 15. Both were in the ninth grade at the public school, which was in its last days of classes before summer vacation. Officials said that Padgett, whose body was found in a restroom on the campus, had killed himself with one of the many weapons he was carrying.


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