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Circuit attorney: Police officers were playing with gun before fatal shooting

ST. LOUIS – A St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department officer has been charged in the shooting death of a fellow officer.

Nathaniel Hendren, 29, was charged with first-degree involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action in the death of Katlyn Alix, 24.

Police initially called the incident an accidental shooting but St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner said further investigation suggests Hendren and Alix were playing with a revolver.

"I will hold people accountable who violate Missouri law regardless of their profession, public status, and station in life," Gardner said.

The probable cause statement says in the early morning hours Thursday while on duty, Hendren and his partner were at Hendren's home on Dover Street in south St. Louis.

Hendren's home is outside the district where Hendren and his partner patrol.

Alix, who was off duty at the time, was also at the apartment, according to the probable cause.

Hendren and Alix were playing with firearms including a revolver. Hendren emptied the revolver and then put one round back into the cylinder.

He spun the cylinder, pointed it away, and pulled the trigger. The gun did not fire.

Alix took the revolver from Hendren, pointed the gun at him, and pulled the trigger. The gun did not fire.

Hendren took the gun back, pointed it at Alix, and pulled the trigger. The gun fired and Alix was shot in the chest.

The probable cause statement says Hendren's partner felt uncomfortable and told the two they should not play with the guns.

Gardner answered few questions Friday after charges were filed. She would not say much beyond what was detailed in the probable cause statement saying the investigation is ongoing.

"I'm disappointed this happened to anyone or anyone's family in the community," she said. "This is devastating, and this is heart wrenching that this happened to be a St. Louis city police officer."

Gardner said an "at large warrant" for Hendren's arrest. She would not specify whether Hendren was in custody, but a member of her team said they did not believe he was a threat to the public.

A judge issued a $50,000 cash-only bond. Involuntary manslaughter carries a possible sentence of three to 10 years.

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