St. Louis police officer Nathaniel Hendren has been charged in the death of his fellow officer, Katlyn Alix

By Maria Pasquini and Jeff Truesdell
January 28, 2019 12:00 PM
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A St. Louis police officer has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action following the shooting death of his fellow officer.

On Friday, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner said in a statement that Nathaniel Hendren, 29, has been charged in the death of Katlyn Alix, 24.

According to a probable cause statement, which was signed by Sgt. Richard Hellmeier, 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. 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.

At the time, Hendren was on-duty but Alix was not.

Hendren’s partner, who was not named, expressed concern about the fact that the pair were “playing with guns,” according to the statement. Wanting no part of the situation, Hendren’s partner 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.

The shooting took place early Thursday morning, according to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. Alix, who was a military veteran and a patrol officer in her second year on the force, was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

“I want to begin by saying that this is a devastating incident for Katlyn Alix’s husband, parents, family and for our entire community,” Gardner said in the statement. “Yesterday, we lost a shining star and a dedicated public servant.”

“At this point based upon the evidence, my office filed at-large charges against SLMPD officer Nathaniel Hendren for involuntary manslaughter, first degree. It’s a class C felony, for a term not less than three years and not to exceed ten years,” she said. “I have said this many times before; 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.”

Katlyn Alix
AP/REX/Shutterstock

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Garner further stated that while she couldn’t disclose any additional information about the ongoing investigation, “we will do whatever is necessary to get to the truth of this incident.”

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According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, at the time of the shooting, Hendren and his partner were two miles away from the border of the district they were assigned to patrol at the time of the shooting.

PEOPLE previously confirmed that Alix’s arrival at Hendren’s home was not preceded by a call for service or help.

Following the shooting, an “officer in need of aid” call went out at 12:56 a.m., according to logs of St. Louis calls.

“Officer Alix was an enthusiastic and energetic young woman with a bright future ahead of her,” St. Louis Metropolitan Police chief John Hayden said in a statement, adding that Hendren had “mishandled” the gun.

Hendren was booked and later released from custody, PEOPLE confirmed with the Missouri Department of Corrections

Hendren was automatically provided an attorney by the St. Louis Police Association to represent him in the internal affairs investigation, but the association’s board would have to vote on whether to provide him with an attorney in the pending criminal case, according to a statement from the association to PEOPLE. “Officer Hendren has not requested such coverage nor has such coverage been approved,” the statement said.

It could not be determined if Hendren has otherwise obtained an attorney in the criminal case who might speak on his behalf.

A GoFundMe account, which was created by one of Alix’s former partners in order to raise money to funeral expenses, has already exceeded its goal of $5,000. As of Monday, the campaign had raised $8,450.