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Nathaniel Hendren says Katlyn Alix 'assumed the risk,' family is owed no damages

The response also revealed new alleged details about Hendren and Alix's relationship

ST. LOUIS — Two weeks after changing his plea to guilty in the Russian roulette-style shooting death of St. Louis police officer Katlyn Alix, former officer Nathaniel Hendren said he owes her family no damages because she "voluntarily engaged in [the] activity" and knew the risk she was taking.

The statement came in a response Wednesday to a wrongful death lawsuit that Alix's mother, Aimee Wahlers, filed against Hendren; his partner, officer Patrick Riordan; the officers' supervisor, Sgt. Gary Foster; and the City of St. Louis.

Hendren said on the night Alix was shot, she initiated contact by text message: "'Hi, I’m happy, lets hang out.' To which the defendant responded. Defendant further states that at [11:18 p.m.], Alix texted Hendren directly, 'Come see me.'"

Hendren and his partner arrived at Hendren's home in the 700 block of Dover Place at approximately 11:50 p.m. He and Riordan were supposed to be on patrol in a different district.

Alix was already there, according to the lawsuit.

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When Alix arrived at Hendren's house, he admitted that he drank a small amount of alcohol and Alix also drank alcohol. He denied any illegal drug use.

And while Hendren admitted taking out his personal revolver, he said Alix was the first person to show a weapon that night.

Hendren said he and Alix were taking turns firing at each other with Hendren's revolver, which had a single bullet in its cylinder.

Each fired the weapon once. The second time Hendren fired it, the gun discharged. The bullet struck Alix in the chest. 

After she was hit, Hendren and Riordan attempted to perform first aid and transport her to SLU Hospital. Riordan did not see the shooting, according to the response.

Alix's mother said Hendren dropped her daughter multiple times, which Hendren denied. He did say he had difficulty putting her in the back seat of his police SUV.

Shortly before 1 a.m., Alix, Hendren and Riordan arrived at SLU Hospital. Alix's shirt had been removed, and her sports bra was pulled over her head.

Hendren said that happened when she was being carried from the apartment to the SUV and because of "lifesaving efforts in the vehicle on the way to the hospital."

At 1:22 a.m., 26 minutes after first arriving at SLU Hospital, Alix was taken inside the hospital.

One minute later, Hendren was taken outside the hospital by officer Phillip Vonderheydt. He then rammed his head through a police SUV being driven by Sgt. Foster, his supervisor.

Hendren also admitted to certain allegations in the wrongful death lawsuit filed in October, including that he and Alix were involved in a romantic relationship and that Alix had been planning to divorce her husband, Tony Meyers, also a St. Louis police officer.

Hendren said that Alix was in the process of moving in with him when she was shot.

Credit: U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri

In the lawsuit, Alix's family said Hendren had a "complicated psychiatric history" and that he would "... put a loaded gun in his mouth and up to his head when alone, 'just to feel something.'" He denied both allegations.

Hendren also denied that he would think about intentionally getting into an accident or that he had forced previous girlfriends to engage in sexual activity that involved guns.

In the response, Hendren said Alix had "previously and voluntarily engaged in gun play with at least one other individual prior to her death, on another time and date."

Credit: United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri

In his court appearance late last month, Hendren changed his plea to guilty. He will serve seven years in prison for armed criminal action and involuntary manslaughter.

He apologized to Alix's mother, saying he hoped "in some small way" that his plea could help heal the "brokenness" he'd caused.

At the time the suit was filed, Scott Rosenblum, one of the lawyers representing Alix's family, said he and the other lawyers involved "absolutely believe this is a righteous lawsuit and feel confident that the facts will support our claim."

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