Smart home device alerts New Mexico authorities to alleged assault

A smart home device called 911 during an alleged assault in New Mexico.

ByABC News
July 6, 2017, 1:25 PM

— -- A smart home device alerted authorities to an alleged assault at a residence in New Mexico earlier this week.

Eduardo Barros was house-sitting with his girlfriend and her daughter Sunday night at a residence in Tijeras, some 15 miles east of Albuquerque. The couple got into an argument and the altercation became physical, according to the Bernalillo County Sheriff Department's spokesperson, Deputy Felicia Romero.

Barros allegedly wielded a firearm and threatened to kill his girlfriend, asking her: "Did you call the sheriffs?" A smart speaker, which was hooked up to a surround sound system inside the home, recognized that as a voice command and called 911, Romero said.

The sheriff's department said deputies arrived on scene and were able to remove the woman and her daughter from the residence. The woman sustained injuries from the altercation but was not taken to a hospital. Her daughter was unharmed, according to Romero.

A crisis negotiation team, as well as a SWAT team, were deployed to the home and were able to take Barros into custody after an hours-long stand-off, Romero said.

Authorities said the smart device potentially played a life-saving role in the incident.

“The unexpected use of this new technology to contact emergency services has possibly helped save a life. This amazing technology definitely helped save a mother and her child from a very violent situation," Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III said in a statement to ABC News.

According to court documents obtained by ABC News, Barros is facing charges of possession of a firearm or destructive device by a felon, aggravated battery against a household member, aggravated assault against a household member and false imprisonment.

Barros appeared Wednesday in the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court in Albuquerque, where a judge determined there was probable cause for his arrest, according to court spokeswoman Camille Baca.

Prosecutors also filed a motion for preventative detention, and Barros will be held without bond until a hearing date is set for him to appear in the Second Judicial District Court in Albuquerque, Baca said.

Barros is being represented by a public defender and has not yet entered a plea, the court said.

Editor's note: This story has been updated; an earlier version named a smart home device that was not the type found in the home and credited by police with calling 911.

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