A smart speaker managed to stop an alleged domestic assault in the vicinity of Albuquerque, New Mexico last week, with local authorities arriving at the potential crime scene in Tijeras and breaking up a couple that got into a physical fight. The device called the local sheriff's department after one Eduardo Barros asked "did you call the sheriffs?" According to a statement from Deputy Felicia Romero of the Bernalillo County Sheriff Department, the question was addressed to his girlfriend that Barros supposedly threatened to kill with an unspecified firearm. The speaker itself reportedly wasn't in the immediate vicinity of Barros but was connected to the surround system of the home in which the culprit and his girlfriend were house-sitting, understanding the aforementioned question as an order to call 911.
The woman was in the house with both Barros and her daughter, both of whom have been removed from the residence by the police, Romero said. The woman had physical injuries following the ordeal but wasn't taken to a hospital, indicating that she wasn't severely hurt. The daughter wasn't harmed and was sent home together with her mother. The incident itself lasted for several hours and involved a SWAT team and several crisis negotiators who managed to convince Barros to surrender and be taken into custody. Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III praised the role that the smart speaker played in resolving the situation, albeit he didn't specify the exact model of the device that some local media previously speculated is a Google Home unit.
Barros is expected to be charged with firearm possession by a felon, aggravated assault, and false imprisonment. The defendant is currently awaiting a hearing in custody with no bail being set for his provisional release. A public defender took his case and Barros is yet to enter a plea, according to Camille Baca of the Second Judicial District Court in Albuquerque. Another smart speaker found itself in the center of a criminal case in late 2016 when Amazon received a warrant to cooperate in a murder investigation involving its Echo speaker infused with the Alexa artificial intelligence (AI) assistant.