Cop Accused in Russian Roulette Killing of Colleague Was Allegedly Drinking on Duty: Police
Officer Nathaniel Hendren was released from jail on Thursday after making bail, a week following the shooting of Officer Katlyn Alix
The St. Louis officer accused in the Russian Roulette-style killing of a co-worker was allegedly drinking on duty with a third officer when the fatal Jan. 24 incident took place.
Nathaniel Hendren was charged with involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action following the shooting death of 24-year-old officer Katlyn Alix. Hendren was released from jail on Thursday after making bail.
His release was on the same day statements from Lt. William Brown, in which he alleges the suspect and his partner Patrick Riordan of drinking on duty, were made public.
In a disciplinary document, filed on Jan. 24 and obtained by PEOPLE on Thursday, Brown alleges Hendren and Riordan “recklessly discharged a firearm resulting in the death of another officer” and “consumed alcoholic beverages while on-duty.”
The document comes after St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s letter to officials, obtained by KLPR11 on Tuesday, stated that “there was probable cause at the scene that drugs or alcohol may be a contributing factor in a potential crime” regarding Hendren’s shooting of Alix.
According to a probable cause statement, Hendren and Alix were “playing with” a revolver, which the male officer had completely emptied out before putting “one cartridge back into the cylinder,” at Hendren’s apartment last Thursday morning.
The pair then took turns pointing the weapon at each other and pulling the trigger before the firearm eventually discharged, fatally striking Alix in the chest, authorities said. Alix, who was a military veteran and a patrol officer in her second year on the force, was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
At the time, Hendren was on-duty but Alix was not. Riordan was initially present at the apartment but expressed concern about the fact that the pair were “playing with guns,” according to the statement. Wanting no part of the situation, Riordan went to leave the apartment before hearing a shot. He then went back into the room where Hendren and Alix were in and saw that Alix had been shot.
On Thursday, Riordan’s lawyer, James Towey, denied claims his client was drinking on duty.
In a statement obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Towey said Riordan “blew all zeroes” when he was given a breath test after the shooting and told investigators that he had taken “a few sips of a beer” while at Hendren’s house. “He poured the rest out in a kitchen sink, leaving the can by the sink, and that should be confirmed by crime scene photos,” Towey said.
Towey did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
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Hendren’s attorney previously released a statement, arguing that the shooting was a “tragic accident” and urging the public to “wait until the investigation is complete, and all of the facts have been presented, before coming to any conclusions about what they believe happened that unfortunate morning.”
Hendren’s attorney did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment regarding the allegations Hendren was drinking on duty.
Meanwhile, Alix was laid to rest on Wednesday after her funeral at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.
In her letter, Circuit Attorney Gardner called the police department “obstructionist” and claimed investigators had a “pre-disposed conclusion” about the shooting.
Police Chief John Hayden disputed Gardner’s claims in a press conference Thursday, calling them “offensive and insulting to the force investigative unit and myself.”
Hayden also called Gardner’s letter “unwarranted, certainly untimely and absolutely irresponsible,” and told reporters that investigators have been following city regulations and procedures “to the letter.”
Hayden added, “I later learned that the circumstances surrounding the shooting were much more reckless and dangerous than what I had originally understood.”
Hendren was suspended without pay and Riordan was placed on paid administrative leave, as is standard procedure following a shooting involving an officer, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.