St. Louis, MO – The former St. Louis police officer charged in the on-duty shooting death of off-duty St. Louis Metropolitan Police Officer Katlyn Alix pleaded guilty on Friday in an agreement that will send him to prison for seven years.
Former St. Louis Metropolitan Police Officer Nathaniel Hendren pleaded guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter and one count of armed criminal action on Feb. 28, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Hendren admitted in court that he had been playing a game with the gun when he killed his girlfriend.
“Although there is nothing that the law can do to restore the life of Officer Alix, it can make sure that the person responsible for her senseless death is held accountable for his careless behavior,” St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner said in a statement.
Officer Alix, 24, was fatally shot just before 1 a.m. on Jan. 24, 2019 while visiting her boyfriend, Officer Hendren, and his partner, Officer Patrick Riordan, at Officer Hendren’s apartment in the 700-block of Dover Place while the two men were on duty.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Officer Alix was off-duty when she met the two men after night shift roll call to socialize.
According to Officer Riordan, Officer Alix and Officer Hendren were “consuming alcohol beverages and playing with their off-duty weapons,” KMOV reported.
While at the house, Officer Hendren grabbed a revolver that was not a department-issued weapon, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Officer Riordan told police that Officers Hendren and Alix engaged in a game of Russian roulette, and that he reminded the two that they were police officers, shouldn’t be playing with guns, and said he wanted no part of it.
He said he started to leave when Officer Hendren took the gun and pulled the trigger while it was pointed at Officer Alix’s chest.
That time, the gun fired, striking Officer Alix in the chest.
The on-duty officers sent out an “officer in need of aid” alert, and rushed Officer Alix to St. Louis University Hospital where she was pronounced dead, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
While at the hospital, Officer Hendren head-butted the back windshield of a police SUV, breaking it, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
He also “spontaneously stated to his supervisor… that he did not try and kill the victim because he was in love with her and they were in an intimate relationship and were planning on moving into his apartment,” court documents read, according to KMOV.
Officer Hendren was charged the next day with involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action for his involvement in Officer Alix’s death.
Officer Alix’s mother, Aimee L. Wahlers, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in October of 2019 that alleged the police department should have known that Hendren had a complicated psychiatric history before he ever became a police officer.
The suit also alleged that Officer Hendren had made other women he’d been involved with engage in sexual activity that involved firearms.
Officers Hendren and Riordan, as well as their supervisor, Sergeant Gary Foster, and the city of St. Louis are named as defendants in Wahlers’ wrongful death lawsuit, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
The lawsuit also claimed that the officer who killed Officer Alix had a history of psychiatric issues that included anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and “suicidal ideations and gestures,” before he was hired by the St. Louis police, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
The suit claimed that Officer Hendren was known to put his loaded gun in his mouth or to his head on occasion “when alone, just to feel something.”