St. Louis, MO (KMOV) — A former St. Louis police officer accused of killing another officer while playing a type of Russian roulette has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action.
Nathaniel Hendren previously pleaded not guilty but later agreed to a plea deal that would sentence him to seven years in prison. Hendren must serve a minimum of three years before he is eligible for parole.
In the early hours of January 24, 2019, Hendren, 29, was on duty with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. He and his partner Patrick Riordan responded to one call shortly after their shift started at 11 p.m., but less than an hour later they apparently ignored a burglary call and instead went to Hendren’s apartment, several miles from the area they were supposed to be patrolling.
There they met Katlyn Alix, 24, an off-duty officer.
An internal police misconduct report alleged that Hendren and Riordan had been drinking alcoholic beverages while on duty that night.
Shortly before 1 a.m., Hendren and Alix were playing with guns in the apartment.
According to Hendren’s account, he produced a revolver, emptied the cylinder, then replaced one bullet cartridge. He spun the cylinder, pointed the gun toward a wall and pulled the trigger. It did not fire.
Alix took the gun, pointed it at Hendren and pulled the trigger. The gun again did not fire.
Hendren took the gun back from Alix, pointed it at her and pulled the trigger. She was fatally shot in the chest.
Court documents stated that while at the hospital where Alix died, Hendren “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.”
Alix and Hendren had joined the St. Louis force in 2017. Both were military veterans, she having served in the Army and he in the Marines.
Alix had been married since October 2018 to another St. Louis police officer, her second husband.
In his booking mug, Hendren has a large bruise on his left eye, reportedly self-inflicted when he slammed his head against the window of a squad car outside the hospital.
Riordan told investigators that he had left the room when they started playing with guns and returned only on hearing the gunshot. He was not charged with a crime, though he was placed on unpaid administrative suspension for at least three months after the shooting.