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Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office reveals the robot key to ending deadly Levelland standoff

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 7:29 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Lubbock County sheriff’s Office provided more information and revealed the influential technology key to ending the deadly standoff in Levelland on July 15.

This is the standoff that led to the death of Lubbock County Sheriff’s Deputy sergeant Joshua Bartlett and injured three other agents.

Considering the amount of harm already done, deputies had to get creative.

“We lost an officer; we had another officer seriously injured. Some others that were had some very close calls. You’re at a point in a situation like that, knowing that we’re not going to garner a voluntary surrender from this individual,” Sheriff Kelly Rowe said.

During the 11-hour standoff, sheriff Rowe says agents noticed Soto-Chavira had gone radio silent after hours of periodic shooting and talking with negotiators.

“As the evening wore on, it became highly likely that either one of the sniper teams had had a successful hit. Or as usually happens in those types of situations, the suspect had taking his own life,” Rowe said.

To assess the situation--without harming other law enforcement agents--they sent Andros f6, a 600-pound multi-function robot.

“If it could get in and make entry, we could see if he was still alive. If he was positioned like he had last told us, which was he was going to put himself in a defensive position and shoot anybody that made entry. We could get in with this device and see if we could locate him, which we ultimately did,” Rowe said.

Several doses of chemicals were deployed into the home, but Soto-Chavira remained inside. Andros f6 was able to use it’s surveillance camera to locate the suspect and spray chemicals on him directly.

“We felt like given his location, he had probably avoided a lot of the initial gas that we had deployed into the structure through the course of the afternoon. But he couldn’t avoid this deployment because it was right in front of him. In fact, it finally got him active, moving, where he moved to the back of the house and was ultimately taken into custody,” Rowe said.

Rowe says the robot protected agents and lead to the arrest of Soto-Chavira.

‘We are we’re going to take every step possible to minimize any risk any further risk to law enforcement officers that were on the scene. This allowed us to do that and allowed us to actually bring that situation to an end,” Rowe said.

Soto-Chavira is facing state and federal charges. Currently, he is at the Lubbock detention center under a half a million-dollar bond. However, if he bonds out, he will automatically be sent to federal custody—where he cannot bail out.

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