A policeman has been charged with involuntary manslaughter after he shot and killed a fellow officer during a gun game that went horribly wrong.
Authorities say the officers, Nathaniel Hendren, 29, and Katlyn Alix, 24, were playing with their firearms when she was shot.
St Louis police in the US state of Missouri say the charges follow a promise the chief of police made to the victim’s family, reassuring them that a “thorough and competent” investigation would be carried out.
According to Fox News, the horrific death took place as a result of a game of Russian roulette.
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The woman was off-duty when she stopped by the apartment of two on-duty male officers, including Hendren.
According to the police incident report, the three officers were seated in the living room when Nathaniel “mishandled a firearm”, resulting in Alix being shot.
A probable cause statement says Hendren and Alix were “playing with firearms”, pointing and shooting at each other with one round in the cylinder.
The gun discharged, striking Alix in the chest. The two men then rushed Alix to St Louis University Hospital.
“While they were there at that home there was, what we understand to be, an accidental discharge,” St Louis Chief of Police John Hayden said during a Thursday morning press conference.
“The female off-duty officer was shot in the chest and she was brought to the hospital by those officers.”
We are deeply saddened to announce that the officer transported to the hospital has succumbed to her injuries. We ask that you keep the officer’s family and the entire SLMPD in your thoughts and prayers as we mourn the loss of our officer and friend. pic.twitter.com/NGcU4tpXiU
— St. Louis, MO Police (@SLMPD) January 24, 2019
Chief Hayden declined to answer questions about the circumstances surrounding the shooting or why the officers had gathered at the home, while two of them were on duty and supposed to be patrolling their assigned district.
He did say that the officers’ arrival at the home was not proceeded by a call for service or help. But according to CNN and logs of St Louis police calls, a call for “officer in need of aid” was put out at 12:56am, and the third officer told the dispatcher they were taking Alix to the hospital.
Despite their efforts, she was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.
Terribly sad – blessings to her family, friends and the entire Slmpd community. https://t.co/UBiDheAAo5
— Mayor Lyda Krewson (@LydaKrewson) January 24, 2019
Police have not released the name of the second male officer, or specified how many shots were fire. They also haven’t clarified whether the gun involved was a service weapon. However, one police source claims she was killed with a revolver, not a department weapon. The same source confirms Alix was close with the two male officers and often worked together.
It also remains unclear who owned the firearm.
The charges were laid as a result of an internal police investigation, but the St Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office is also investigating and has asked the Missouri State Highway Patrol for help.
“Officer Alix was an enthusiastic and energetic young woman with a bright future ahead of her,” Chief Hayden said in a statement.
The department said Alix was a patrol officer who had graduated from the St Louis Police Academy in January 2017.
She was also a military veteran, survived by her husband, parents and a sister.
Alix’s mother told News 4 she helped her become a police officer. “Katie enlisted when she was 17,” her mother Aimee said. “I signed for her because that’s what she wanted to do. She was following in her brother’s footsteps because he did the same.”
“She loved her job,” Aimee added. “Katie was one of a kind. There will never be another Katie. She was the most generous person, kindest person. If you needed her, she would be there.”
— with AP