ST. LOUIS – A newly filed 45-page civil lawsuit lays out an alarming chain of events that no one has heard about the fatal shooting of Officer Katelyn Alix – until now.
The lawsuit portrays the man who shot Officer Alix—Nathaniel Hendren—as a dangerous, mentally unstable cop who displayed warning signs to his own department. It also alleges his partner failed to do anything about it.
Hendren admits he left his district while on duty and went to his apartment on Dover with his partner Patrick Riordan, and shot Alix in the chest. Officer Alix was off-duty at the time.
Officer Alix’s mother, Aimee Chadwick, has been lost without her.
“I never wanted to leave her side and now I feel guilty leaving and going anywhere,” she said.
Chadwick says Katelyn was her light.
“I miss smelling her, holding her, looking at her face. I miss everything. I live in a dark world,” she said.
Alix was 24 when she was shot and killed on January 23, 2019. She'd been an officer for two years.
“I remember her first day on the job. I was riding around waiting for her to get off of work that night just so I knew she was ok,” Chadwick said.
Her daughter’s impact was immediate. Videos document how Officer Alix tore down barriers with citizens and children. One video shows her encouraging a young girl who was doing push-ups at school, from across a parking lot.
“Whatever it takes to interact with someone to make someone happy, that’s who Katie was,” she said.
Chadwick is demanding answers from the police in her daughter's death. Her attorneys Scott Rosenblum and Johnny Simon say they’ve uncovered new facts.
“Within three minutes of going on duty, they were off-duty,” Simon said.
The attorneys say officers Hendren and Riordan texted Alix, “…less than three minutes after the beginning of their shift...telling her they could use a ‘beginning of shift smoke,’ and asked her whereabouts.”
The officers allegedly, “...did not log in and/or manipulated the GPS system” so they couldn’t be tracked.
The lawsuit documents how the officers left their district, ignoring a call for a building alarm at 6152 Manchester and asked another officer to respond. That officer texted “WTF dude. What’s so important that you can’t take this call?”
The lawsuit says it was because both officers were “consuming alcohol, and other unknown substances, at 750 Dover Place.”
Hendren claims Alix was also playing with the gun when he shot her. However, the civil lawsuit gives a different version of that deadly night.
“We’re hearing a narrative - and the narrative is coming from the police department,” Simon said.
Simon’s lawsuit gives a different version, alleging neighbors “reported hearing a ‘screaming fight’ and yelling between a man and a woman.”
They claim “Hendren took out his personal revolver, and put one bullet in the chamber, pointed it at officer Alix’s chest, and pulled the trigger.”
They allege Hendren’s partner saw it and “...ran down the stairs, ahead of officer Hendren, to start the car.”
The lawsuit alleges Hendren “...dropped officer Alix multiple times, and struggled to put her in the back seat of vehicle 64,” while Riordan at 12:54 a.m. “...made a phone call to District 2 dispatch that there was ‘an officer down’ and they were at Colorado and Dover Place.”
“There was an officer down,” Simon said. “She wasn’t on duty and it wasn’t in the district they should’ve been working. (Riordan) didn’t say Nate Hendren shot Katie Alix in the chest. He didn’t say that.”
The lawyers point out police supervisors should have seen warning signs in Hendren,
a “complicated psychiatric history, including...anxiety and depression, post-traumatic stress disorder” from his time with the Marines, and that he was “suicidal.”
The lawsuit is specific. It says “Defendant Hendren would, on occasion, put a loaded gun in his mouth and up to his head when alone, 'just to feel something.'”
“We do know this man obviously had problems,” Simon said. “The city should’ve known about it, if they didn’t already know about it.”
Hendren has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter. He's free on bond and being monitored by an ankle bracelet.
In the meantime, Chadwick clings to precious memories of a daughter who danced.
“Life is not the same anymore. The saying is true: you have the life before your child and the life after your child and the life after your child is unbearable.”
St. Louis police had no comment. Hendren's attorney, Talmage Newton IV, responded, saying the "suit is rife with inaccuracies and misstatement of fact."
Hendren is back in criminal court on October 24.