A mobile home in Tennessee was left a smoking ruin last month after it was attacked by a heavily armed police robot firing advanced triple-warhead gas grenades.
Despite the uncompromising tactics employed by the no-nonsense tin cop, and the fact that satellite and heat-sensing technology had apparently confirmed that the residence housed a dangerous fugitive tooled up with a deadly arsenal of weaponry, feds and local lawmen who combined to launch the assault were left egg-faced following the inferno. The ashy wreckage left behind following the robocop's orgy of mechanical destruction contained no trace of their quarry, who had plainly escaped during the mayhem.
The story comes to us through the trenchant journalism of the Bristol Herald Courier, which obtained a harrowing eyewitness account of the mechanical policeman's frenzied robotic rampage:
Will Chambliss swears a police robot burned his neighbor’s Ellis Road home to the ground weeks ago by blasting what looked like a javelin of flames into the living room ...
One bolt of fire dove at a spot several feet straight past the doorway, he said. Another ricocheted right, toward a corner of the room hidden from the view of his binoculars.
Local human police and federal operatives had unleashed the firebolt-spewing machine in a desperate attempt to end a day-long standoff at the "double-wide" mobile home in Blountville, Tennessee, after a high-speed pursuit of Junior Kemper Spradlin, 42, had led them to the scene. Spradlin was wanted for second-degree murder and was thought to have holed up in the dwelling with "multiple rifles and pistols".
It appears that regular fleshy cops, understandably reluctant to tangle with Spradlin personally, sent in their robotic colleague in an attempt to flush out the denned fugitive using riot-gas projectiles fired from a launcher. This led to the building's immolation, following which it was found that Spradlin had "somehow slipped away", according to the Herald Courier.
The plods had been certain that their quarry remained in the dwelling based on "GPS [was a tracking device of some type involved, perhaps?] and heat-sensor technology". The latter option at least could well have been confused by the blaze, perhaps aiding in Spradlin's escape.
There's some confusion over the exact type of ordnance used by the robot SWAT trooper in destroying the building, though it seems clear that it was a triplex CS gas grenade of some sort.
The local police incident report suggests that this was a "Flameless Tri-Chamber" unit suitable for use indoors (the triple chambers in this design keep the hot parts of the grenade confined while letting gas escape). However the Herald Courier, based on casings found at the scene, speculates that the robot may instead have launched a Triple Chaser unit designed to blow apart into three widely scattered gas-emitter subcanisters on initiation so as to achieve faster gas coverage over a wider area outdoors.
The Triple Chaser's manufacturer states that it should not be used indoors "due to its fire-producing capability".
Spradlin surrendered himself to (human) police two days later. ®