St. Louis officer accused of killing colleague in Russian roulette shooting is booked into jail
ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis police officer who allegedly killed a colleague last week as they took turns firing a revolver containing a single bullet was booked into jail Monday.
A booking photo of Officer Nathaniel Hendren was released by the department Monday afternoon. He was charged Friday with involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action in the fatal shooting of fellow officer Katlyn Alix. His bail was set at $50,000, cash-only.
Hendren was on duty but at his house early Thursday with Alix, who was off duty, when they began taking turns pulling the trigger on the revolver while pointing it at each other, according to court documents. Alix was shot in the chest, charges say. Hendren and his partner, who was also there, rushed her to St. Louis University Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Hendren had been hospitalized after the rushing Alix to St. Louis University Hospital following the shooting, according to sources. He head-butted the back window of a police SUV parked at the hospital, sources said. He broke the window and suffered minor injuries to his head, sources said. The booking photo released by police shows Hendren with a blackened left eye.
Sources say police officers took Hendren into custody Monday in his hospital room at St. Louis University Hospital.
He was not present Monday morning when his attorney sought a reduction in bail terms that would let him post 10 percent of the bail to be freed. A decision is expected at a hearing later this week. A spokeswoman for the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office said a victim’s family is usually informed of such moves and given the opportunity to speak to the court before a decision is made.
Attorney Talmage E. Newton IV is representing Hendren in the criminal case. He declined to comment Monday but released a statement offering condolences to Alix’s family.
“The death of Officer Katlyn Alix was a tragic accident that has unalterably impacted the lives of everyone involved,” he said in the statement. “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.”
Alix’s parents have hired a legal team that includes Scott Rosenblum to “ensure that a thorough investigation is performed,” the attorney said. His son Alec Rosenblum and Johnny Simon of the Simon Law Firm are also part of the legal team.
“Certainly we’re looking into all avenues … including, potentially, civil litigation,” he said. “The family is convinced that with Katlyn’s training, both police and military, there remains a substantial amount of unanswered questions … questions about the circumstances of the event.”
Hendren and his partner, both 29, were on-duty in the city’s Second District on Thursday morning but went to Hendren’s house, which is in another police district. The house is about two miles from the southeastern border of the district they were supposed to be patrolling. Under department policy, on-duty officers are required to remain in their assigned districts at all times.
Alix, who was off duty, also went to the home. Shortly before 1 a.m., Hendren took all the bullets out of a revolver and then put one back in. He spun the cylinder, pointed it away and pulled the trigger, according to court documents.
The gun did not fire, court records say. Alix then took the gun, pointed it at Hendren and pulled the trigger. Hendren then took the gun again and pulled the trigger. This time it fired, striking Alix in the chest, records say.
Hendren and his partner called in the shooting on their police radios at 12:56 a.m. Thursday as they rushed Alix to the hospital.
Hendren and his partner have been described as close friends and frequent partners of Alix while patrolling the Second District. The partner’s name has not been released, but the police department confirmed Monday he has not been suspended.
Both were placed on paid administrative leave following the shooting, which is standard procedure any time an officer is involved in a shooting. Hendren was suspended without pay Monday, according to Officer Michelle Woodling, a department spokeswoman. His partner remains on administrative leave.
Department policy requires immediate drug and alcohol testing for officers involved in shootings. Woodling would not say whether the officers in the home were tested.
The “critical incident testing” police says “drug and alcohol testing shall be conducted as soon as possible but no later than three (3) hours following the incident.”
Alix was a two-year veteran on the force. Hendren has one year of service, and his partner has about two years.
She is survived by her husband, mother, father and sister, the department said. She married a fellow St. Louis police officer in October. He was not among those at the home when she was shot, according to multiple sources.