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Federal judge dismisses portions of suit over St. Louis cop's shooting by colleague

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ST. LOUIS — A judge on Wednesday dismissed portions of a federal lawsuit against the city of St. Louis over the fatal shooting last year of a police officer, Katlyn Alix, by a colleague.

U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Clark ruled that although officer Nathaniel Hendren was in uniform and on duty at the time he killed Alix, the act was “of a distinctively personal nature.”

“At the time of the shooting, Hendren and (his partner, Patrick) Riordan, though ostensibly ‘on duty,’ were willfully and deliberately shirking their responsibilities as police officers. They disabled the GPS system on their police cruiser so they could not be tracked, left their patrol district without permission, and ignored a call” to respond to a burglar alarm.

Had Alix been a civilian, Hendren’s uniform and duty status might be more important for the legal analysis, Clark wrote.

The suit was brought by Alix’s mother and named the city as a defendant. The city filed a motion to have it dismissed from the claim — arguing that Hendren wasn’t acting in his official capacity as an officer at the time of the shooting — and Clark largely ruled in favor of that motion.

Clark dismissed civil rights claims against Hendren and wrote that because of that dismissal, the lawsuit’s claims against the city could also not go forward. He sent the case back to St. Louis Circuit Court, where it was originally filed.

Hendren, 30, pleaded guilty in March to first-degree involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action in exchange for a seven-year prison sentence.

He admitted shooting his former partner in January 2019 at his apartment in the 700 block of Dover Place in the city’s Carondelet neighborhood, while the two were “dry-firing” their personal handguns.

Hendren’s lawyer, Talmage Newton IV, said in an email that, “Officer Hendren continues to express remorse over the events of January 2019. He has taken responsibility for his actions and has nothing but sympathy for the family of ... Alix.”

Robert Patrick • 314-340-8131

@rxpatrick on Twitter

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