Cop Accused of Officer's Russian Roulette Killing Jailed, Lawyer Cautions Against 'Conclusions'
The shooting of Officer Katlyn Alix was a "tragic accident," says the suspect's attorney
St. Louis police officer Nathaniel Hendren was charged with involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action following the shooting death of his fellow officer, Katlyn Alix, which allegedly took place during a game of Russian Roulette between the pair.
Following his first court appearance on Tuesday, Hendren’s attorney released a statement, arguing that the shooting was a “tragic accident.”
“The death of Officer Katlyn Alix was a tragic accident that has unalterably impacted the lives of everyone involved,” Talmage E. Newton IV said.
“I urge the public, as well as members of the police department, 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,” Newton said.
According to a probable cause statement, Hendren, 29, and Alix, 24, 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.
Hendren’s partner, who was not named, 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, 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.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
Hendren’s booking photo shows him with a black eye. He was hospitalized for ramming his head through a police cruiser’s back window after the fatal shooting, according to KMOV4.
A GoFundMe account, which was created by one of Alix’s former partners in order to raise money for funeral expenses, has already exceeded its goal of $5,000. Alix is survived by her husband — a fellow St. Louis police officer whom she wed in October — as well as her parents and a sister.
Hendren, who was suspended without pay, is being held on $50,000 cash-only bond.
Authorities have yet to release the name of Hendren’s partner. PEOPLE previously confirmed that one of the male officers had a year on the force while the other officer had nearly two years of service.
Hendren’s partner has been placed on paid administrative leave, as is standard procedure following a shooting involving an officer, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.