Wednesday, 8 Feb 2023

St. Louis Officer Charged in Fatal Russian Roulette Shooting of Another Officer, Authorities Say

A St. Louis police officer has been charged with involuntary manslaughter after the authorities said he fatally shot another officer during a game of Russian roulette.

The officer, Nathaniel R. Hendren, was charged on Friday in the death of Katlyn Alix, another officer with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

Officer Hendren had been on duty when he met Officer Alix, who was off duty, at his home on Thursday and the two began playing with guns, according to a statement of probable cause.

Officer Hendren produced a revolver, emptied the cylinder and put one round back in, the statement said. He then spun the cylinder, pointed it away and pulled the trigger. The gun did not fire, the authorities said.

Officer Alix took the gun, pointed it at Officer Hendren and compressed the trigger. The gun still did not fire, the statement said.

Officer Hendren then took the gun back, pointed it at her and pulled the trigger. This time, the gun went off. Officer Alix was fatally shot in the chest, the authorities said.

The shooting of a police officer at the hands of another immediately raised questions about what had happened and drew added attention because the authorities said Officer Hendren was on duty at the time.

Officer Hendren’s partner, who was also there and who was not identified, told the authorities that he had felt uncomfortable that the others were playing with guns and started to leave before he heard a gunshot, the statement said.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the police initially called the shooting “accidental” and later said the officer had “mishandled” the weapon.

On Friday, Kimberly M. Gardner, the St. Louis circuit attorney, said her office had evidence to file charges.

“We lost a shining star and a dedicated public servant,” Ms. Gardner said in a statement, adding that an investigation was continuing.

“I have said this many times before,” she said. “I will hold people accountable who violate Missouri law regardless of their profession, public status or station in life. Today, as much as it saddens my staff and me to file these charges, Katlyn and her family deserve accountability and justice.”

Court records did not list a lawyer for Officer Hendren. He could not be reached for comment on Saturday, and the police department did not immediately respond for a request for comment.

The police chief, John W. Hayden Jr., said on Twitter that Officer Alix was “an enthusiastic and energetic young woman with a bright future ahead of her.”

Follow Sarah Mervosh on Twitter: @smervosh.

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