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Fatal End To An Alleged Game Of Russian Roulette For St. Louis Police Officer

Flags fly at half-staff in front of the St. Louis Police Officers Association, following the shooting death of a police officer by another officer.
Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch
TNS via Getty Images
Flags fly at half-staff in front of the St. Louis Police Officers Association, following the shooting death of a police officer by another officer.

A St. Louis police officer has been charged with manslaughter in the death of another officer, allegedly by shooting her during a game of Russian roulette.

Katlyn Alix, 24, died while off-duty early Thursday morning, according to a probable cause statement from the St. Louis Police Department.

The statement says that Officer Nathaniel Hendren shot Alix in the chest while they were handing a revolver back-and-forth, taking turns pulling the trigger.

"Officer Alix was an enthusiastic and energetic young woman," police Chief John Hayden wrote on Twitter on Thursday via the St. Louis Police Department.

Hendren, who was on duty at the time of the incident, met Alix at his home, according to the statement from Sgt. Richard Hellmeier. They were "playing with firearms" when Hendren produced a revolver, emptied the cylinder and put one cartridge back in.

According to Hellmeier, Hendren first pointed the gun "away" and pulled the trigger, but the revolver did not fire. Alix then took the weapon, aimed it at Hendren and pulled the trigger, but still the gun did not fire.

On the third shot, Hendren pulled the trigger while pointing the gun at Alix, and the gun discharged, the statement reads. Alix died from a gunshot wound to the chest.

Kimberly Gardner, the circuit attorney for the city of St. Louis, wrote in a statementFriday that her office had filed charges against Hendren for involuntary manslaughter. The felony carries a sentence of three to 10 years in prison.

Alix "represented the police department in an honorable manner, and she had a very bright future," Gardner wrote. Alix was hired by the department in June 2016, according to St. Louis Today.

Alix's mother, Aimee Chadwick, told KMOV that her daughter loved her job as a police officer.

"Katie was one of a kind," she said. "There will never be another Katie. She was the most generous person, kindest person. If you needed her, she would be there."

Alix served six years in a military police unit prior to joining the police force, The Washington Post reports. She married a fellow officer in October 2018.

Hendren's partner, who has not yet been named, was also present during the game, according to the statement.

"He advised that he told the defendant and victim that they shouldn't be playing with guns and that they were police officers," the statement reads. "He felt uncomfortable ... and he started to leave."

The partner says that he left the room but heard the shot while still in the apartment and returned to find Alix shot in the chest.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: January 26, 2019 at 12:00 AM EST
An earlier version of this story incorrectly said the shooting took place at victim Katlyn Alix's home. It occurred at suspect Nathaniel Hendren's home.

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