TIJERAS, NM — Many people rely on Amazon’s Alexa to help order groceries and play music — but, for one New Mexico woman, the virtual assistant may have literally been a lifesaver.
Eduardo Barros, 28, was arrested on July 2 for allegedly beating his girlfriend and threatening to kill her after Alexa called the police during their altercation, authorities said.
Barros reportedly became angered with his girlfriend, whose identity has not been released, while house-sitting in Tijeras. The dispute turned physical, and Barros allegedly waved a gun and threatened to kill the woman. At some point, he asked: “Did you call the sheriffs?”
The question triggered the virtual assistant to call 911, according to the Bernallillo County Sheriff’s Department. “Barros told her she was not going anywhere, and he was going to kill her,” according to an arrest warrant affidavit obtained by The New York 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, who is a convicted felon, then reportedly told the victim that he was not going back to prison, and the victim was terrified that he planned to kill her.
After a crisis-negotiation team and a SWAT team were called to the residence, Barros was taken into custody. He faces charges including possession of a firearm, aggravated battery, and false imprisonment — and is being held without bail. The victim and her daughter were removed from the home, and the woman is being treated for minor injuries, authorities say.
“The unexpected use of this new technology to contact emergency services has possibly helped save a life,” Bernallillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III told ABC News. “This amazing technology definitely helped save a mother and her child from a very violent situation.”
This was not the first time that Alexa has been involved in an active police investigation: Last year, after a murder in Bentonville, Arkansas, police seized the defendant’s Echo and served a warrant to Amazon, noting in the affidavit there was “reason to believe that Amazon.com is in possession of records related to a homicide investigation being conducted by the Bentonville Police Department.”
Amazon initially pushed back against the request from Benton County Prosecuting Attorney Nathan Smith, but agreed to release the records in March after the defendant, James Bates, gave his consent.
Main photo: Eduardo Barros [Bernallillo County Sheriff’s Department]