ST. LOUIS – Friday marks one year since the death of St. Louis police officer Katlyn Alix.
Alix died while off-duty after being shot in the chest by her own colleague – who was on duty.
“I don’t forget Katie,” said Aimee Chadwick, Alix’s mother. “She’s the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I think of when I go to bed.”
Pictures of Chadwick’s daughter surround her at home – hundreds of them.
Alix was always smiling, Chadwick. You can see the memories from the moment you walk in Chadwick’s home, with shelves right inside the door, honoring her daughter’s military and police service.
“I just wish I could turn back time to a year ago,” Chadwick said.
A new tattoo says “love you” in Katie Alix’s writing, along with her signature smiley face.
“We all have a hole in our heart because of it and every one of us – we grieve every single day,” Chadwick said.
She hired attorneys Johnny Simon and Scott Rosenblum to get justice. Simon told us in October how the city of St. Louis is responsible because he claims the city knew Alix’s shooter, Nathaniel Hendren, had a “complicated psychiatric history” before he was hired.
A civil lawsuit alleges Hendren and his partner were drinking while on duty, disabled the tracking unit on their patrol car, which supervisors should have noticed, and ignored a call for service while on their way to meet Officer Alix.
Hendren faces a manslaughter charge after admitting he was playing with a gun while wearing his bulletproof vest and that he shot Alix in the chest. She was off duty and not wearing her vest.
St. Louis city counselors recently pleaded with a federal judge in the city’s defense.
“Here, even though Hendren and (his partner) wore police uniforms, their alleged actions were not taken pursuant to their responsibilities as police officers,” they said.
The pleading continued: “To the contrary, the facts alleged demonstrate they ignored those responsibilities.”
Chadwick’s lawyer, Johnny Simon, wrote in his pleading just last week, “…should the victim`s family bear all of the costs that result from the reckless actions of an on-duty police officer for the city of St. Louis, or should the city of St. Louis, who selected, hired, trained, and supervised the police officer bear the cost of his on-duty decisions? These are the ultimate questions confronting this court.”
Alix’s mother said her daughter’s memory will survive. Three babies now carry on her daughter’s name. She made onesies to celebrate that honor.
“I know Katie would have been very proud to have babies named after her but I also know Katie would have loved to have a baby too,” she said. “She would’ve been an awesome mother.”
Chadwick said she still talks to her daughter and recently saw her in a dream.
“’I love you so much’ and she’s like ‘I love you too’ and I grabbed her and I said ‘come give me a hug’ – Then she disappeared,” Chadwick said.
Chadwick doesn’t know what’s worse – knowing Katie and losing her – or being someone who never met her.