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February 02, 2019

24-year-old police officer accidentally shot off-duty might have been playing Russian roulette

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St. Louis Police Officer Nathaniel Hendren, 29, shot death Officer Katlyn Alix, 24, while allegedly playing a Russian roulette-like game in the victim’s apartment.

Hendren and his partner, Patrick Riordan, were at Alix apartment around 1 am when the incident took place. It is unknown why Hendren and his partner were there as the victim’s residence is located more than two miles away from the district they were assigned to patrol.

According to the police statement, Hendren emptied the cylinder of a revolver, placed a bullet in, and spun the cylinder. He then pointed the gun at Alix and pulled the trigger, but it didn’t fire.

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THE RUSSIAN ROULETTE-LIKE GAME

Alix, who was off duty, reportedly took the gun and did the same with the same result. At that point, Hendren’s partner told them that they were police officers and that they should play with guns. Riordan allegedly left the room and heard a gunshot soon later.

Officer Alix received the shot in the chest. Even though she was taken to a nearby hospital, she died. Now, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner, in charge of the case, revealed that drugs or alcohol might have played a role in the incident.

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GARDNER’S LETTER

In a letter Gardner addressed to Police Commissioner John Hayden and Public Safety Director James Edwards, she revealed that there was “probable cause at the scene that drugs or alcohol may be a contributing factor in a potential crime.”

Apart from that, she set clear in the letter that St. Louis police officers interfered with the investigation by not honoring a search warrant to draw blood at the hospital. According to the letter, one of the officers told a prosecutor that a blood sample had already been drawn.

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POLICE’S INTERFERENCE

However, the investigation revealed that only breath tests and urine analysis were taken, but not a blood test. If that wasn’t enough, the studies were taken under Garrity, “which protect public employees from being compelled to incriminate themselves during investigatory interviews conducted by their employers.”

"Taking the tests under Garrity appears as an obstructionist tactic to prevent us from understanding the state of the officers during the commission of this alleged crime," Gardner wrote, something that Hendren’s defense attorney didn’t agree with.

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THE THOUGHTS OF HENDREN’S ATTORNEY

According to Talmage Newton, who confirmed his client had “a couple of sips” of beer, officers would have violated Hendren’s constitutional rights if they had not followed the Garrity rules, so they didn’t “interfere” with the investigation.

Hendren had a $100,000 bond, but with ony $10,000, he was released and placed on house arrest. If found guilty, he could spend up to 10 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action.

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ANOTHER ACCIDENTAL SHOOTING

Unfortunately, it is not the first time that a person shoots another one by accident. Six-year-old Maliyah Palmer from Missouri was found dead in their home after her 12-year-old brother accidentally fired a gun and killed her in the process while their parents were out in a Christmas party.

At the time, the children's 16-year-old sister was the one babysitting them while their parents were at a party. While the police initially said that there would be no charges to be filed, Police Chief Timothy Lowery noted that they have "not ruled out any charges being filed." 

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