Sterling police ID Rock Falls man wanted in Thursday shooting

Dayton Hicks is a felon with multiple pending weapons charges, convictions

Dayton J. Hicks in November 2023

STERLING – A Rock Falls man with a history of weapons charges is wanted on two more after police said he fired a gun about 7 a.m. Thursday in the 800 block of East Second Street.

Dayton J. Hicks, 28, formerly of Dixon, is wanted on charges of reckless discharge of a firearm and being a felon in possession of a weapon, Sterling Police Det. Sgt. Maggie Ellmaker said in a news release Thursday afternoon.

No one was injured, but two parked cars were struck in what appears to be an isolated incident, according to the release.

Anyone with information on Hicks, or video surveillance related to the incident can call the department at 815-632-6600 or the anonymous reward tipline, Whiteside County Crimestoppers, at 815-825-7867. Information leading to an arrest is eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

Hicks now has five felony cased pending in Whiteside County Court.

He also was charged Tuesday with aggravated battery, details of which were not available. It carries two to five years in prison

He was arrested in early December after a five-hour armed standoff with police in Yeowardsville in rural Rock Falls, but was not charged right away.

At the time, he was held in a case filed July 25, 2022, in which police said Hicks used a handgun to shoot at a Rock Falls man from a moving vehicle July 5, 2022. He was charged then with being a felon in possession of a firearm, punishable by two to 10 years in prison, and reckless discharge of firearm, punishable by one to three years, and misdemeanor aggravated assault.

He later was charged with three felonies in the standoff: aggravated battery, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, possession of a weapon by a felon and misdemeanor battery. He faces two to five years for the felony battery, and one to three years and two to 10 years, respectively, for the weapons charges.

Dayton J. Hicks

In the fifth case, Hicks was charged Aug. 18 with possession of fewer than 15 grams of cocaine, punishable by one to three years in prison, and illegal possession of adult use cannabis, a misdemeanor.

He pleaded not guilty Sept. 18, but failed to appear two days later at a hearing for the July 2022 firearms case. A warrant for his arrest was issued, and he was taken into custody Oct. 2.

After his court appearance, he was freed under the terms of the Pretrial Fairness Act. Before that, he had been free after posting $5,000 of his $50,000 bond in the 2022 case.

Hicks has three felony convictions in Whiteside County, court records show:

On Oct. 27, 2021, he was convicted of aggravated battery in a public place, a motel, and was given 2 1/2 years of conditional discharge. One count of misdemeanor battery was dismissed.

A petition to revoke his sentence was filed, and he pleaded not guilty Dec. 14, 2022. A hearing in that case, and in the other three pending cases, is set for Dec. 13.

On Jan. 2, 2020, he was convicted of aggravated battery in a public place and sentenced to three years in prison.

Investigators said he bludgeoned a man in the head and stole his cellphone.

One count of aggravated robbery using or indicating a weapon and one count of being a felon in possession of a weapon were dismissed per a plea agreement.

On June 28, 2018, he was sentenced to four years’ probation for possession of a stolen firearm and being a felon in possession of a weapon. Two counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, carrying a firearm in a bar and the sale or use of a blackjack near a protected area, all felonies, were dismissed.

Kathleen Schultz

Kathleen A. Schultz

Kathleen Schultz is a Sterling native with 40 years of reporting and editing experience in Arizona, California, Montana and Illinois.