The Latest: Prosecutor questions police over investigation - InfoNews

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The Latest: Prosecutor questions police over investigation

January 29, 2019 - 2:30 PM

ST. LOUIS - The Latest on criminal cases involving St. Louis police officers (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

The St. Louis prosecutor is raising concerns about whether police tried to block drug and alcohol testing of two on-duty officers following the fatal shooting of Officer Katlyn Alix.

Alix was off-duty and with two on-duty male officers at an apartment early Thursday. Charging documents say Officer Nathaniel Hendren and Alix were taking turns pulling the trigger of a gun loaded with one bullet while pointing it at each other when Alix was shot in the chest. Hendren is charged with involuntary manslaughter.

In a letter to Police Chief John Hayden and Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards written Monday but first obtained by KMOV-TV on Tuesday, Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner says urine and breath tests were performed on the male officers, but not a blood test. She wrote that the way the testing was performed "appears to be an obstructionist tactic."

Gardner's letter says there was "probable cause at the scene that drugs or alcohol may be a contributing factor in a potential crime."

Police did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

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3:35 p.m.

A leader of the union that represents St. Louis police officers is calling the decision to charge two officers in a shooting case "an unprecedented abuse of power."

Joseph Schmitt and William Olsten were charged Monday with first-degree assault and armed criminal action. Schmitt also faces a weapons charge.

The officers were off-duty at a bar in April. The charges claim Schmitt and Olsten approached a van where a bar patron was sitting. An investigation by the circuit attorney's office found that the patron's gun went off when Olsten slammed that person to the ground, injuring Olsten. Schmitt allegedly responded by shooting the patron, who survived.

St. Louis Police Officers Association business manager Jeff Roorda said Tuesday that Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner ignored statements from the officers and two of their colleagues, along with forensic and video surveillance evidence, in choosing to charge the officers instead of the patron. He says the officers were the real victims of the crime.

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2 p.m.

A St. Louis police officer accused of fatally shooting a female colleague last week will be moved to a jail outside of the city for his own protection.

Nathaniel Hendren made a court appearance Tuesday via video from jail, where he is being held on charges of involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action in the death of Officer Katlyn Alix.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports officials will move Hendren to another jail in Missouri, but officials declined to say where.

Hendren is jailed on $50,000 bond, though his attorney is trying to get it reduced.

Hendren was at an apartment while on-duty around 1 a.m. Thursday. Alix was off-duty. Charging documents say Hendren and Alix were taking turns pulling the trigger of a gun loaded with one bullet while pointing it at each other when Alix was shot in the chest.

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12:30 p.m.

Two St. Louis police officers are charged in a shooting outside a bar, the latest embarrassment for the police department.

Joseph Schmitt and William Olsten were charged Monday with first-degree assault and armed criminal action. Schmitt also faces a weapons charge.

The officers were off-duty at a bar in April. The charges claim Schmitt and Olsten approached a van where a bar patron was sitting. An investigation by the circuit attorney's office found that the patron's gun went off when Olsten slammed that person to the ground, injuring Olsten. Schmitt allegedly responded by shooting the patron, who survived.

Last week, officer Nathaniel Hendren was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of another officer, Katlyn Alix. Police say they were playing with guns when one went off. And in November, four officers were indicted for allegedly beating an undercover colleague during a protest.

News from © The Associated Press, 2019
The Associated Press

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