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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.


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)

the police in this county live by their own rules,yes it is a shame when anyone gets shot or killed.but lets go by facts the police show up hours later when some one gets shot and you would be very lucky for the police to do any thing at all.what do the police do when some one gets robbed or beat up,shot,hit and runs,etc.they will mostly tell you its your fault you should know better and we are to busy.so when one of their own gets shot they should get the same the tax payers get which is pretty much nothing.but they spent millions put 1000s of people in harms way.LA county you people need to wake up the only way you are going to have any kind of safe city is to fire every police man and women and end the unions and start over.you have a police force that is worthless.and I do pray that the cop gets better.

BATCAT: gives a new meaning to 'Spring Cleaning'

I cannot believe they did this to that house. If it had not been a cop shot, they would not have gone to these lengths. Why not just wait it out?

It is law that Law enforcement can destroy a home or property that a suspect is hiding,taking cover in without remedy. They do not and will not fix destroyed property. Over 10 years ago the same thing happened in California and It was stated by the Media when an apartment inhabited by a fleeing suspect was destroyed by police. I don't know what else to say. Property can be replaced but anyone who will shoot law enforcement will no doubt shoot the general public. People cannot be replaced

LAPD is too extreme, there was no other way? Where are the brains? Whose going to repair the house?

The $15 can of tear gas just doesn't use up enough of the taxpayer dollars these days.

The LAPD needs equipment like the BatCat to justify continual yearly budget increases.

They could have also lobbed a few ounces of high potency weed through a window and then just waited him out and negotiated with him when he asked for M&M's, brownies, and ice cream.

Sounds like a bunch of typical welfare state people here? Your more worried about a house than a human life? Come on people!! I suppose if you barricaded yourself in the house (with a gun) and the cops tore it down you would sue to get it replaced and let the state or city pay for your attorney as well.

The "Batcat" is nothing more than a fifty-foot variable reach-forklift with upgraded accessories. The million dollars they paid for is a rip-off. I know for a fact that a brand new 50' reach-forklift cost around anywhere from $200,00 to $300,000. And I doubt all the accessories cost $700,000. This is why the city is broke. Instead of spending money like it's going out of style, the city government needs to be smarter and wiser, which is probably a contradiction in describing the city.

Funny how everyone is so focused on the house... meanwhile, an officer who swore to uphold the law, protect and serve all of you, was shot in the face with a hole in his jaw. All of you are the first to cry murder when the police do their job, but at the same time, cry the same when they don't respond to your house quickly. "The police shouldn't have shot and killed the murderer, the rapist, the arsonist... they should have negotiated with him..." What a bunch of bull!

Oh by the way, the BatCat was most likely paid with Federal Grant money specifically funded for law enforcement agencies and law enforcement response tools and innovation.

But who cares? Most of you don't. Just like I won't care if I get a call on my MDC to respond to your home because its being burglarized. Because most of you would probably say I drove to fast, wasted a lot of gas, put the public in harms way, etc., etc., etc.,... But I do respond, because its my responsibility to take care of your sorry people!

For those of you who are having trouble understanding what happened her it is.
Bad man hurt wife. wife called 911. bad man ran back into house and no talk to cops. cops brought in K9 unit to look for bad man. bad man shot at cops. cop was hit rushed to hospital. cops called in swat and bomb squad. bomb squad brought the new batcat. cops remove people in area to keep them safe. cops spend several hrs trying to talk to bad man. bad man refused. cops shot in tear gas. bad man still refused. cops shot in hot gas. bad man refused. bomb squad let swat use batcat on house to open windows. bad man shot at cops and cops shot back. after a hour bad man and cops stop shooting. batcat used to tear down walls to get better view into house. bad man no where to be seen. cops wait for signs of bad man. cops send in camera robot. cops enter house find bad man dead. cops now seeing if cops hit bad man or bad man shot himself. city pays for damage to house no one else shot. end result 2 people shot: 1 dead 1 alive in hospital, 1 beaten; 1 house torn apart; numerous homes evacuated and people woken up; multiple streets closed; all thanks to 1 guy who didn't want to go to jail for beating his wife.
I know this because I live down the street where we had 1-6 helicopters above our place from start to finish with the police helicopter shining its light into our windows as it circled the area. We had police, ambulances, firetruck, buses driving pass us all day and I happened to personal drive by the scene about 1:30 a.m. trying to find out why we had a police helicopter by our house before the officer was shot and aside from a ambulance the area was dead, calm until he hot the officer then the helicopter came back.

Poeple are SOOOOOO stupid.

If a maniac is on private property shooting cops with a high powered rifle then all bets are off.

The cops can break the house down, burn the house down, or paint it an awful green color if they want to. Bottom line is that the nutjob inside that house has to be neutralized because he is not only a threat to the officers, but to all of society.

Oh, and just for the tards who can't figure it out, there is this thing called "homeowners insurance", the people who live in the house, or their landlords have it. That's who make the repairs to the house.

Get a clue dummies.

I believe most SWAT teams would just drill small holes and insert a small camera for the same result? Perhaps the much smaller RC robots can accomplish the same goal? Obliterating houses and nieghbors' properties would seem to promote more gunfire, and result in much more serious threat to community and officers. This level of force can even be considered overkill in a war zone.

Reminds me of the day LAPD was begging the military to use mortar shells to get a group of 10 armed black panthers out of a bar. I got trained by an ex La County Sheriffs, no wonder he makes fun of these clowns. ONE guy... cowards!

A tractor-hybrid used to knock down a house containing one armed suspect. Why do I get the feeling that somebody in the LAPD has been watching too many action movies? :/

Where's Hans Gruber when you need him?

What have we here, gentlemen? The police have themselves an RV..

Uh, excuse me but we live in Los Angles, CA USA not the Gaza strip, Afghanistan or (our latest War) Libya.

I understand that the LAPD officers were upset because one of their own was shot. However, the damage caused here are about 2 million dollars in my estimation. Also, a NEIGHBOR'S house was also partially demolished??!! Does no one else see this as excessive? What's next - the DEA or ICE or LAPD doing as the Israelis do and demolishing whole neighborhoods in Los Angeles to weed out criminals? Very scary stuff. Ever here of this concept called property rights? It's in the Constitution. Ever here about setting up a permiter...you know something a bit more REASONABLE?!

The BatCat seems excessive. The destruction of 2 homes?!

We are not in a war zone. Ever here of reasonable means --- like setting up a permitter or using helicopters, heat monitering devices? Geez. What is the USA coming to?

I am blown away by the comments here. Yes a million dollar investment is worth the life of any person. I am a friend of the the son of the officer whom was shot. I bet he believes the investment is worth it. All of us would give any expense to save a loved one. People you are so ignorant when it comes to law enforcement. LAPD officers are daily put in situations that would make most of you soil yourself. When is the last time you had an AK-47 pointed at you as another friend of mine did recently? People wake up and show some support a house can be rebuilt, but a life is gone forever. Do whatever necessary to protect life. Have any of you that show cocern for the wife and her property offered her a place to stay, or would that be a little too uncomfortable for you? Our officers are people to and yes sometimes make the wrong choices but ask yourself how you would react in a situation amplified by the fear of your death. You have to think fast. Congrats LAPD on making the best decision based on what you knew at the time. No one else was harmed and thats all that matters!!!!

You LA people are pathetic. Why don't you guys go and get the shooter out of the house, then? Go ahead, they city'll return the BatCat thing and we'll all just sit outside here while you genius commenters go inside and get him to surrender. Also, if that cop that he shot dies, the city is going to owe at least the cost of that forklift to his family in benefits, pension, insurance, etc. Oh, sorry, lets all moan about the stupid flimsy Valley tract home instead of people's lives.

Only in LA would people ask about the cost of the house...pathetic bunch of slaps. You have no idea what it takes to operate in combat, or what its like to see your comrades wounded or dieing in combat. Your a disgrace to human race. GET A CLUE!!! Officer Jenkins put duty and service above his own life. He deserves respect and gratitude, just like every solider/officer serving a cause greater than themselves.

1) Woman calls police for help.
2) Police officer is shot.
3) Police destroy woman's home.
One million $ of taxpayer money for a tractor with a joystick?
We could have used that when Daryl Gates was fired and wouldn't leave.

I love the comments section in these LA Times articles. And people wonder why LA has become a cesspool. The Police have a job to do and don't get any support from the type of losers who leave comments on here. It's amazing how ignorant LA citizens citizens have become. Questioning the decision making process of a highly trained organization who has the publics best interest at heart is just rediculous and it shows in the way how our entitled, liberal, take no responsibility society has become. Good job LAPD...some of us sane citizens actually support you and care about your safety, amazing isn't it? To all of the Detractors.....Until you walk in another persons shoes, you have no clue.

Who cares about the home, it saved more lives. What if he had one of your family members inside held against their will would you give a damn about how they got them out? Probobly not. Quit complaining about how they get the job done and if you dont agree then dont agree but keep in mind on who you call when you have a problem... The same men and women you degrade right now

Unlike almost everyone commenting on here I would like to say w/sincerity..."GOOD JOB LAPD", you saved any other officers from getting injured or worse! I also pray for Officer Jenkins full and Speedy recovery, I am so thankful he will recover. I 100 percent support your using this tool to open up this guys house in order to keep from any other officer being shot.

For all the folk here who blast the LAPD for their handling of this stand-off with a suspect who earlier had tried to murder a Police Officer, you should know this...This was the suspects own home!! He had weapons and was firing at the police who were tyring to talk him out, prior to the shooting of the officer this dirtbag was out looking for his wife whom he had just beat, and had he found her, he probably would have killed her that night, he also was threatening the LAFD who responded to help the suspects injured wife. I am sure this guys wife is just happy to have her life still and she probably isn't upset about the damage caused to their home at her husbands refusal to surrender! I hope none of you ever find yourselves in need of any officer on the LAPD, becuase I would hate to think any of them would risk their lives to save your sorry miserable lives!!

Again, I will keep Officer Jenkins in my prayers for a full recovery!

I can't believe the ignorant statements made by many. This man not only beat his wife, shot a cop, then continued to shoot at other officers during the stand off. LAPD used other tactics to end this incident. However, the suspect continued to act in a manner the required the LAPD to destroy the house.

It's very easy, if you dont want something bad to happen, comply with the police.

The homeowner will file a claim with the city and be paid. Dummies!

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