Local inventor develops drone counter-attack to stop active shooter

LAS VEGAS - In the wake of the tragedy at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, there has been a lot of talk about coming up with better ways to stop an active shooter.

A local inventor and drone enthusiast says he has the answer. 
When 8 News NOW was first introduced to John Mendonca two years ago, his drone golf game was beginning to take off.

Mendonca continued to tinker and create other ways to hone in his drone flying skills.

"So the first thing I made was a laser to burst the balloon, and then the other thing, I was making a squirt system, also to squirt a balloon," Mendonca said.

But as Mendonca worked on his drone attachments, tragedy struck at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.  Out of the horrific shooting that killed 58 people and injured more than 500 others, came a realization, along with some inspiration.

"So when the sniper came about, I said 'man, I have all the stuff already made to stop a sniper'," Mendonca said.

Here’s the idea: If there’s an active shooter somewhere above a crowd, you launch the drone. Its presence can be distracting enough, but there are items on the drone to help temporarily disable the gunman.

The primary goal is to get the shooter’s focus off of the people below.

Mendonca doesn't want to show off the operational drone as outfitted, but he was happy to show us some of the components.

Among the implements mounted on board is a small rocket filled with powder to irritate the eyes and lungs.

"It makes the guy uncontrollably cough," said Mendonca.

There's a pump to shoot pepper spray or another irritant.

"Say he's in a window, I would be above him shooting down at a 45-degree angle," Mendonca said.

The prototype shoots 15 feet, but he's working on one that shoots 30 feet, that also has a high-powered laser to shine in the shooter's eyes.

"I want to just make the sniper not able to operate his weapon," Mendonca said.

Everything is designed to buy time in the critical moments until police can get to the shooter.

Patrick Walker, Reporter: "How quickly can you get up to somebody's location? These drones move fast." 
Mendonca: "They move at 50 mph, so after receiving a call that there's sniper fire, I could be there in a minute, because I'm already at the venue." 

According to Mendonca, he also has a new attachment for his drone that could be used at an event if a rogue drone flies over an event.

Mendonca says he hasn't discussed the idea yet with any law enforcement, but he is discussing his idea at a local drone convention happening in Las Vegas this week.
    
 


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