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Police Officer Sentenced For On-Duty Russian Roulette Fatality

Former St. Louis police officer Nathaniel Hendren, 30, has pleaded guilty to first-degree involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action after fatally shooting fellow officer Katlyn Alix while playing a game of Russian roulette.
According to The New York Times, Hendren will serve a total of ten years in prison for the incident – seven years for killing Alix, and three years for one count of armed criminal action. The news agency reports that Hendren was on duty at the time of the incident, and was playing a game of Russian Roulette at his apartment with fellow officer Katlyn Alex, 24, who was off duty at the time.
The plea deal, which has been reviewed by the Times, indicates that Hendren inserted a bullet inside of an empty revolver, and the two officers took turns pulling the trigger.
Hendren pulled the trigger the first time while aiming at a wall, but the gun didn’t fire; Alix then pulled the trigger while aiming at Hendren, but the gun, again, did not fire. Hendren then took the gun back from Alix, and pulled the trigger while pointing it at her – the gun fired and Alix was shot in the chest, and died from the injury, reports the news agency.
According to CNN, another officer, who was in the apartment at the time the game started, was about to leave after giving Hendren and Alix a final warning about not playing with weapons.
According to Fox News, court documents show that Hendren told his supervisor at the time of the incident 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.” However, according to the Times, Hendren was in a relationship with the officer who warned them against playing with weapons.
As The New York Times previously reported, prosecutors at the St. Louis district attorney’s office accused the police department of mishandling the investigation and preemptively labeling the incident as an accident before knowing the facts of the case.
At the time of the incident, prosecutors suspected that drugs or alcohol may have been involved, and were critical of the police department after they refused to take a blood test of the two surviving officers who were at the apartment the night Alix died.
Prosecutor Kim Gardner also criticized the police department’s investigation tactics, including the department’s decision to conduct breathalyzer tests and urine samples, which are less precise than blood samples, under Garrity Rights, which protect public employees from self-incrimination during the course of an employer investigation.
“Taking these tests under the cover of Garrity appears as an obstructionist tactic to prevent us from understanding the state of the officers during the commission of this alleged crime,” wrote Gardner in a letter to the police commissioner at the time. “We have the expectation that those test results will be turned over to our office immediately as part of the ongoing investigation.”
A spokesperson for the St. Louis mayor at the time responded to Gardner by saying that “the police department is in no way obstructing this investigation.”
In response to the letter, an attorney for Hendren said that Gardner was incapable of being “impartial, unbiased or objective,” reports the Times
According to CNN, the attorney also pushed back on the claim that the incident was “anything more than a tragic accident.”
“We are aware of the rumors, innuendo, and salacious gossip surrounding the accidental death of Officer Katlyn Alix,” said Hendren’s attorney in a statement, reports the news agency. “There is no evidence, nor will there ever be, that this was anything more than a tragic accident.”

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