‘Alexa’ automatically calls 911 after Amazon Echo overhears domestic violence attack

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — A man accused of beating his girlfriend and threatening to kill her was jailed after an Amazon Echo — a voice-activated speaker device — automatically called 911, authorities said.

“The unexpected use of this new technology to contact emergency services has possibly helped save a life,” Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III, of the Bernalillo County Sheriff Department, told FOX 61. “This amazing technology definitely helped save a mother and her child from a very violent situation.”

The incident began when the couple was drinking at a home in New Mexico on July 2, according to the arrest warrant affidavit and criminal complaint from the sheriff’s department. The victim’s child was also present during the alleged attack.

When Eduardo Barros’ girlfriend received a text message, he accused her of cheating and “stated he was going to kill her if she called the cops,” the complaint said.

He asked her, “Did you call the sheriff?” the complaint said. An Amazon Echo device in the home overheard this comment, apparently interpreted it as a command to call authorities and placed a call to 911. Police also said the victim could be heard yelling, “Alexa, call 911,” on the 911 recording.

When police called back, Barros saw the caller ID and threw the woman to the floor, police said, and Barros then kicked her at least 10 times.

The victim said she thought she was going to be killed or shot, police said.

Barros, a convicted felon, was arrested after an hours-long standoff with a SWAT team, according to Bernalillo County sheriff’s spokeswoman Deputy Felicia Romero.

Barros is facing multiple charges including felon in possession of a firearm, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon on a household member and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on a household member.

The child was not hurt. The woman received injuries to her face, but refused medical attention.