An hours-long standoff in the darkness of the high desert came to a novel end when Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies used a robot to stealthily snatch a rifle from an attempted murder suspect, authorities said Thursday.

Officials said the use of the robot to disarm a violent suspect was unprecedented for the Sheriff’s Department, and comes as law enforcement agencies increasingly rely on military-grade technology to reduce the risk of injury during confrontations with civilians.

“The robot was a game changer here,” said Capt. Jack Ewell, a tactical expert with the Sheriff’s Department — the largest sheriff’s department in the nation. “We didn’t have to risk a deputy’s life to disarm a very violent man.”

It began late in the evening of Sept. 8, when deputies in Lancaster were pursuing a man suspected of trying to kill one person and robbing two others.

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