Smart home device reportedly ends violent dispute by calling 911

Police in New Mexico claim a smart device may have saved a woman’s life when it called local authorities during an alleged assault.

Eduardo Barros, 28, was arrested on July 2 after a standoff with a SWAT team at a home near Albuquerque, New Mexico, according to Deputy Felicia Romero, a spokesperson at Bernalillo County. Authorities say Barros got angry at his girlfriend after she received a text message. He accused her of cheating on him and began hitting and kicking her, then got his gun and threatened to kill her.

Barros then asked, “Did you call the sheriff?” This, according to the police statement, woke an unnamed smart device, which misinterpreted his question as a command and called 911. (Early reports claimed the device was an Amazon Alexa-powered speaker, but Amazon confirmed with the Daily Dot that its speakers are not able to call 911. Google Home, another smart speaker named in reports, is also not yet capable of making calls.)

“When 911 called (the victim’s) phone, Barros saw the caller ID and threw (the victim) to the floor. Barros then kicked her while on the ground at least 10 times in the face and stomach,” the complaint said, according to KTLA.

Fortunately, authorities arrived at the home and were able to remove the woman and her daughter. The woman sustained injuries but did not go to the hospital. Her daughter was unharmed, according to ABC News.

“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.

Barros is facing 14 charges, including false imprisonment, aggravated battery against a household member, and possession of a firearm by a felon.

Phillip Tracy

Phillip Tracy

Phillip Tracy is a former technology staff writer at the Daily Dot. He's an expert on smartphones, social media trends, and gadgets. He previously reported on IoT and telecom for RCR Wireless News and contributed to NewBay Media magazine. He now writes for Laptop magazine.