Updated 5:45 p.m. Friday with charges filed — An officer with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has been charged with two felonies in the Thursday shooting death of another officer.
Nathaniel R. Hendren, 29, faces involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action charges in the killing of 24-year-old Katlyn Alix. The incident happened early Thursday morning at Hendren’s apartment in the 700 block of Dover Place in the Carondelet neighborhood.
Prosecutors say Hendren, who was on duty, and Alix, who was off duty, were playing a Russian roulette-like game with a revolver, pointing the gun at each other and pulling the trigger. Hendren shot Alix in the chest when the gun fired. She was pronounced dead at St. Louis University Hospital.
Hendren’s patrol partner, who has not been identified and was not charged, told police he had told Hendren and Alix to stop playing with guns, and had turned to leave the apartment when he heard the shot.
Police did not say why Hendren and his partner had gone to Hendren’s house in the first place, or why they asked Alix to come over. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Hendren’s apartment is outside of the district where he should have been patrolling.
Original story from Jan. 24:
A St. Louis Metropolitan Police officer is dead following what investigators are describing as an accidental shooting by another officer.
Chief John Hayden called 24-year-old Katlyn Alix an “enthusiastic and energetic young woman with a bright future ahead of her.” She was a U.S. Army veteran and had been with the department for about two years.
According to the police narrative, two on-duty officers stopped by one of their homes in the Carondelet neighborhood around 1 a.m. Thursday. For reasons that are still unknown, Alix, who was off duty, also stopped by the house in the 700 block of Dover Place.
The three were sitting in the living room when one of the officers allegedly mishandled a weapon and shot Alix in the chest, Hayden said. The department did not provide any information about why the on-duty officers went to the house in the first place or who owned the weapon that killed Alix.
In a statement, Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner called Alix’s death “a tragic situation.” She said the Missouri State Highway Patrol will be helping her office conduct its parallel look into the shooting to ensure a “complete, objective and thorough investigation” for the officer’s family.
She urged the media to “refrain from speculation and drawing conclusions” about the incident, a plea repeated in a statement from Jeff Roorda, the business manager of the St. Louis Police Officers Association.
"We know that the press and the public want to understand what happened. So do we. But for now, we wait; we wonder; and we weep,” he said.
Follow Rachel on Twitter: @rlippmann