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LAPD's massive 'BatCat' used to protect officers in Sylmar standoff

The Batcat prepares to move in to assist in driving out the suspect.

Investigators on Tuesday were sifting through the scene of a nearly 24-hour standoff in Sylmar between police and a gunman who shot an officer in the face.

Much of Monday's damage to the house in the 13600 block of Dronfield Avenue was caused by the Los Angeles Police Department's latest tool, the "BatCat," a 39,000-pound remote-controlled vehicle that looks like a forklift truck on steroids with a massive telescopic arm.

PHOTOS: Shootout in Sylmar

The BatCat -- formally called the Bomb Assault Tactical Control Assessment Tool -- is part of a new generation of unmanned ground vehicles that operate much like the U.S. Air Force's Predator drones.

It was built on the base of a massive piece of Caterpillar construction equipment known as Telehandler.

The shiny black BatCat can be remotely driven at up to 6 mph. Its massive arm can extend 50 feet horizontally or vertically and can be equipped with a claw, forklift or bucket.

The vehicle, along with a trailer and other accessories, cost the LAPD nearly $1 million. It can tear apart a home in minutes without putting an officer in danger.

The BatCat broke down walls in the Sylmar home, where Sergio O. Salazar was found dead Monday night, a rifle resting near his body. LAPD Officer Steven Jenkins was hospitalized in critical and stable condition following the violence.

Officers used the BatCat to avoid a situation like the one in February 2008 when SWAT Officer Randall Simmons was killed and another officer critically wounded by a gunman who had barricaded himself inside a Reseda home, an LAPD official said.

Although an LAPD report showed that officers acted appropriately in that incident, a department official noted that Simmons was shot after storming through a narrow entryway.

LAPD Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese said the BatCat was effective in the Sylmar standoff and if they had do it again police would use it the same way to get the gunman.

RELATED:

Man suspected of shooting LAPD officer is found dead with rifle at his side

-- Richard Winton

Photo: The BatCat prepares to move in to assist in driving out the suspect. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

 
Comments () | Archives (100)

So, humm...who pays to put the home back in order?

Talk about sledgehammer used to kill a fly, LOL..."A Batteram...you can't stop me baby"-Toddy T, circa late 1980s

1 million dollars for a remote controlled teleloader? No wonder the city is broke.

And who is going to repair/replace the home that this dead shooter's family is to live in?

Oh good! Another weapon to be misused in the hands of the worst cops in the world. Didn't pay your parking tickets? Look out! Here comes batcat!

N

What about the property owner's rights?
Say the gunman broke in to a home and barricaded himself in, is the homeowner left with the huge amount of damage and no recourse because there was an emergency situation?
Most people I know couldn't afford to rebuild an entire wall with no warning.
Of course, if it is the suspect's home and there has been enough prodding to request he comes out, this seems appropriate.
I am wholeheartedly pleased that there is a way of saving officers from a standoff with an armed man. But there should be some recourse for the innocent home owner.

I'd sure like to know by what authority the LAPD can just destroy a house whenever they feel like it? Who pays for the reconstruction? I would like to believe that there are other alternatives that were available. The officer survived but it appears the LAPD again likes to make a statement albeit a negative one.

Why did they have to destroy that house? The guy would of eventually gave up after his temper calmed down. Now he's dead.

who pays for the damage to near by homes??? Probably the home oweners will have to sue to get there homes repaired.

Who is going to fixed broken wall?

Seriously, the guy shot a cop in the face, who cares what the lapd used to find the shooter. It seems like a lot of LA Times readers can justify any story by blaming the ecomony, cops or the goverment.....lets blame the guy who beat his wife and shot a cop in the face...

Remote controlled? The picture clearly shows a driver.

I don't know who pays for the reconstruction, but I'd rather have to worry about that than have to bury more innocent men and women.

Keep in mind, they don't just cruise in there with the BATCAT right away...it's only after other attempts at extraction are fully exhausted before they resort to destroying the property.

chief beck is a disgrace to the uniform. This is the second wholly unnecessary neighborhood lockdown in as many months. So hundreds of thousands of dollars later a home is destroyed and the perp is dead. The same result could have been had for a fraction of the cost and without uprooting an entire neighborhood.

As time goes by, the police act more and more like an occupying army, and less and less like public servents. It's obvious who will end up paying for this unnecessary damage to private property; we, the taxpaying public will pay.

Well, at least it spares us a trial.

When this sort of brute force is used against pediophiles and rapists then maybe you'll get a hand clap from me. LAPD has their own set of rules and justice when harm comes to one of their own. Talk about overkill and grandstanding.

Nice to see they have unlimited budget for expensive toys.

A cop who literally put his life on the line in order to protect all of us get's shot in the face, then the culprit refuses to surrender even when surrounded all the while brandishing a weapon towards police officers; and all anyone has to say is "Who pays for the house?". So it's ok if the bad guys threaten to kill any of us, it's ok for the bad guys to go high tech (like the drug cartels are); but heavens forbid if the police go high tech in trying to protect themselves and us. You people are idiots. Thank you LAPD for a job well done.

Wow! Most comments worry about who is going to pay for the property damage done by this machine rather than being grateful that more cops and innocent neighbors weren't shot by this lunatic gunman, if the stand-off continued without this machine.
Folks don't show your inhumanity so quickly, it's very unbecoming.

Note to negative LAPD comments...response times to your house when you're getting robbed will increase by 10 mins. Thanks for playing.

Does the county compensate the owner of the house? Or his he out of luck?

I'd heard that there were also two dogs in the house. Anyone know if they're ok?

BOY... I bet the wife is glad to be back home peacefully resting...with no walls

It's really something that could happen in a cartoon or the Three Stooges...

uh-so...if the Batcat is deployed and does its job? Are we the taxpayers liable for the costs of the damage done?

 
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