Just recently, a truly disturbing incidence of domestic abuse was reported.
Twenty-eight-year-old Eduardo Barros and his girlfriend were house-sitting in Tijeras, New Mexico, when a conversation over incoming text messages turned violent, reported KRQE.Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office
Barros reportedly accused his girlfriend of cheating on him, then the argument escalated into physical violence with Barros hitting and kicking the woman.
He then reportedly brandished a gun, according to a statement from the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office alleging Barros then proceeded to hit his girlfriend in the face with it.
According to the New York Post:
“Barros told her she was not going anywhere and he was going to kill her,” according to an arrest warrant affidavit obtained by The Post. “When 911 called her phone, Barros saw the caller ID and threw [her] to the floor. Barros then kicked her while on the ground at least 10 times in the face and stomach. Barros told [the victim] he could not believe the cops had been called and he was not going back to prison and that she knew he was a felon. [The victim] stated she thought she was going to be killed or shot.”
ABC News reports that the violent incident occurred in front of the girlfriend’s young daughter who was with them at the time.
Police responded to a call for help from the residence around 10:00 p.m.
After a six-hour stand off with the crisis negotiation team and the SWAT team, Barros was finally taken into custody.
**Smart Speaker Contacts Law Enforcement During Violent Domestic Dispute**Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III stated, “The…
According to Bernalillo County Sheriff Department spokesperson, Deputy Felicia Romero, the girlfriend and her daughter were safely removed from the home. The woman had sustained injuries from the incident but was not taken to the hospital; her daughter was unharmed.
However, it’s how police were alerted to what was going on in the home that’s become the subject of speculation.
According to reports and the sheriff’s office, during the altercation Barros asked his girlfriend:
“Did you call the sheriff’s office?”
His question was reportedly picked up by a smart home device inside the home.
As the statement from police reads:
This question, based on the victim’s statements, prompted a smart home device known as “Alexa”, to contact law enforcement. In the 911 recording the victim can be heard yelling, “Alexa call 911.”
Similar to “Siri” on iPhone, “Alexa” is the voice command response on Amazon smart home devices.
Deputy Romero explained to ABC News that the device was connected to a surround sound system inside the home, and recognized Barros’s question as a command to call 911.
Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III claimed the device was responsible for getting Barros’s girlfriend and her child out of a very dangerous situation:
“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.
Interestingly, in a statement to Buzzfeed News, a representative from Amazon said that smart home speakers, such as Amazon Echo or Amazon Echo Dot, cannot call 911. As Buzzfeed reports:
“Alexa calling and messaging does not support 911 calls,” a company representative told BuzzFeed News. The phrase “call the sheriff” would not trigger a call to emergency services via Alexa, the representative said. Apple’s voice-controlled assistant Siri supports 911 calling via iPhones, whereas the Google Home smart speaker does not.
According to USA Today, Sheriff Gonzales affirmed his office been asked to clarify the specific device that may have called 911. The sheriff stated that based on the statements made by the girlfriend and the recorded 911 call, authorities believed the smart home device had made the emergency call.
USA Today also reports that a spokesperson for Amazon, Rachel Hass, said that Alexa does not support 911 calls.
Based on the arrest warrant affidavit obtained the Post, it is possible the woman could have used her phone.
How Bernalillo police were actually called remains a mystery.
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.
He is being held without bond until his next appearance in court.