Rock Falls fugitive wanted in Sterling shooting arrested, jailed

Dayton J. Hicks in November 2023

STERLING – A Rock Falls man on the lam for a month in a Sterling shooting incident was arrested after fleeing a traffic stop shortly before 6 p.m. Thursday, lead Detective Maggie Ellmaker said.

Dayton J. Hicks, 28, was wanted for firing a gun about 7 a.m. Nov. 9 in the 800 block of East Second Street, hitting two parked cars, police said. No one was injured.

Police attempted to pull him over shortly before 6 p.m. in the 1800 block of Locust Street, but he failed to stop; he was arrested shortly after in the 200 block of Second Avenue, Ellmaker said.

Hicks, who has a history of weapons convictions, is charged with reckless discharge of a firearm and with being a felon in possession of a weapon.

More charges stemming from his flight and arrest Thursday might be pending; an investigation is ongoing, she said.

He is being held in Whiteside County jail, and given his criminal history and the risk that he will not appear at court proceedings, he likely will remain detained.

Hicks now has five felony cases pending in Whiteside, plus a petition to revoke a previous sentence:

He 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 was arrested Oct. 2 in that case and was free under the terms of the Pretrial Fairness Act when the Nov. 9 shooting occurred.

He was charged Nov. 7 with aggravated battery, and sent a notice to appear in court on Dec. 13. According to the charging document, he hit a man in the shoulder with a brick at a gas station Sept. 12. He faces two to five years in prison if convicted.

He was arrested in December 2022 after a five-hour armed standoff with police in Yeowardsville in rural Rock Falls. He is charged with 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.

He also is accused of shooting at a Rock Falls man on July 5, 2022. He is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, punishable by two to 10 years in prison, reckless discharge of firearm, punishable by one to three years, and misdemeanor aggravated assault.

Hicks also has three felony convictions in Whiteside County:

On Oct. 27, 2021, he was convicted of aggravated battery in a public place, a motel, and was given 2½ years of conditional discharge. A petition to revoke his sentence was filed, and he pleaded not guilty Dec. 14, 2022.

His Dec. 13 hearing will include all but the reckless discharge case; that hearing has yet to be set.

Hick also has two felony convictions in Whiteside County:

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