The Dallas Police Department (DPD) successfully used a robot to deploy non-lethal gas in an effort to resolve an hours-long standoff with a shooter on Wednesday.
Police representatives claimed that Knowles had been driving a stolen vehicle before crashing the car near the course. Knowles then allegedly ran onto the golf course and stole a golf cart.
A course manager suggested that the suspect “headed down to the golf course, met up with some of our senior golfers, and ended up threatening them and possibly shooting shots towards their direction and taking their golf cart.”
The suspect then reportedly hid in a water culvert while occasionally shooting at police and others as negotiations were ongoing. No one was struck by any of the shots.
After hours of negotiation, DPD deployed a robot equipped with irritant gas which detonated inside the culvert, driving Knowles out. Police then subdued and arrested him.
DPD Spokeswoman Kristin Lowman explained to The Dallas Express that “It is the SWAT Unit Commander who authorizes the use of Chemical Agents and Less Lethal munitions when they are warranted during tactical operations.”
Furthermore, “Robots can be used on tactical operations to communicate with suspects and deescalate situations through negotiations. Their deployment inside areas that are deemed not secure increases safety for not only the public, but for our officers”
Lowman also highlighted that robots “can also bring water and other items to help in negotiations with a suspect.”
Knowles has been charged with two counts of unauthorized use of a vehicle, causing an accident involving injury, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, evading arrest, and the unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.
He is currently being held at the Dallas County jail on a bond of $500,000.
This incident comes as concern mounts that the weaponization of drones and other robots may become increasingly commonplace.
Dallas police became the first domestic law enforcement agency to use a robot to kill someone in 2016 when an explosive device was detonated to stop a shooter who killed five police officers.
Although a police spokesman has previously suggested to The Dallas Express that “[t]here has been no discussion, and there are no plans to use” weaponized drones, the DPD general orders explicitly authorize such usages if approved by the police chief.