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Kim Gardner Accused Police of Obstructing Investigators in Alleged Gun Game Death

Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner complained that police obstructed her investigators from getting evidence of whether drugs and alcohol played a role in the shooting

January 29, 2019 - 5:15 pm
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - The St. Louis prosecutor is accusing city police of blocking efforts to get a blood sample from the suriving officers at the scene of last week's shooting death of officer Katlyn Alix by another officer involved in a gun game. 

Read the full letter from Circuit Attorney Kim Garder to Judge Edwards, Police Chief Hayden

In a letter to the police chief and director of public safety released by Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, she complains that police obstructed her investigators from getting evidence of whether drugs and alcohol played a role in the shooting. 

Public Safety Director Jimmy Edwards denied the claim, saying "our officers are not obstructionist." 

Edwards says no blood test were taken, but urine and breathalyzer tests were. Gardner says those results are off limits to her because of the a 1967 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which states that law enforcement officers and other public employees have the right to be free from compulsory self-incrimination.

Edwards says the evidence will come out.

On the shooting itself, Edwards says he believes the initial finding of fact that a gun game was being played, but he declined to speculate on whether there's more to it than we now know. 

Gardner announced the charge against officer Nathaniel Hendren, as they allegedly played a game in which a revolver's cylinder was emptied, one bullet put back and the two colleagues took turns pointing at each other and pulling the trigger.

Related: Family of St. Louis Officer Kaitlyn Alix Has Hired a Legal Team

Alix was with two male officers at an apartment when she was killed just before 1 a.m. Thursday. A probable cause statement from police, provided by Gardner's office, offered a chilling account of the dangerous game that led to her death.

The probable cause statement said Alix and Hendren were playing with guns when Hendren produced a revolver.

"The defendant emptied the cylinder of the revolver and then put one cartridge back into the cylinder," the statement said. He allegedly spun the cylinder, pointed the gun away and pulled the trigger.

The two men were on-duty at the time of the shooting. Police Chief John Hayden has declined to answer questions about why the officers had gathered at the apartment, which was home to one of the men.

Hendren was so upset by the shooting, he reportedly banged his head to the point of bleeding on an SUV window. Sources say he's on a suicide watch at a local hospital, which explains he's charged with an "at large" warrant, rather than under arrest.

Police immediately launched an internal investigation and placed both officers on paid leave. Gardner also began her own investigation on Thursday and enlisted the Missouri State Highway Patrol to conduct it.

Alix was a patrol officer who had graduated from the St. Louis Police Academy in January 2017.