Records: Critically wounded PD sgt. met with suspect hours before attack

The suspect, who had visited the station hours prior, said he wanted to talk about "a person who was a danger"

By Thomas Geyer
Quad City Times

EAST MOLINE, Ill. — New details are emerging in the attack on an East Moline police sergeant who was critically injured Monday.

Sgt. William "Billy" Lind and the man now accused of trying to kill him had encountered each other about two and a half hours before the incident, police and court records show.

Adrian W. Rogers, 52, of East Moline, is charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery, according to Rock Island County court records. Police and the county prosecutor say Rogers struck Lind in the head, causing severe injuries, including skull fractures.

Rogers then left Lind lying unconscious in or near the street, police said, adding that the officer's body camera captured the violence.

It happened about 6:30 p.m. in the 1900 block of Morton Drive after Lind approached Rogers, who was a suspect in an arson investigation in Rock Island. The fire had been set just a few hours prior to the two men's encounter, police said.

Rock Island firefighters responded to the blaze about 3:40 p.m. in the 1600 block of 12th Street, and Rogers is accused of knowing that a woman was inside the house at the time, police said. She escaped without injury, but the home sustained considerable damage.

About 20 minutes after the fire, police said, Rogers walked into the East Moline Police Station and happened to speak with Sgt. Lind. This was about an hour before Lind learned Rogers was a suspect in the arson and more than two hours before Lind was injured.

"He wanted to talk to someone about a person who he said was a danger to people or children," Police Chief Jeff Ramsey said Tuesday of the encounter. "He did not seek out Lind specifically, and it is just a coincidence that Lind spoke with Rogers."

The chief said Rogers did not stay in the police station for long, and he was not communicating clearly.

At about 5 p.m. Rock Island police issued a notice that identified Rogers as a suspect in the arson, records show.

When Lind then located Rogers on Morton Drive about 90 minutes later, Rogers tried to walk away, police said. Lind advised Rogers he was not free to leave and attempted to subdue him, grabbing Rogers' upper body, according to court records.

Rogers then struck Lind in the face, police said, causing him to fall to the ground unconscious. He was discovered by fellow officers who were responding to Lind's call for backup.

At last report, Lind's injuries were considered life threatening and he remained in critical condition at a Peoria hospital, where he was transported for advanced treatment of his head injuries.

Rogers was arrested late Monday in Colona, according to the East Moline police.

He also faces charges of aggravated arson and residential arson in relation to the Rock Island house fire, according to court documents.

When firefighters arrived at the home, they found smoke and fire on the second story, but it was quickly under control, Rock Island Fire Chief Jeff Yerkey said at the scene Monday afternoon. At that time, the cause was under investigation.

A Rock Island Police news release indicates that Rogers left the area before police officers and firefighters reached the scene. He was being held in the Rock Island County Jail late Tuesday but had not yet made a first appearance in either case.

His bail was set at $1 million in relation to the attempted murder case, court records show. To be released, he would have to post a $100,000 bond.

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Rock Island police said the bail for the arson case was $500,000, but it was unclear Tuesday if that amount was in addition to or included in the bail amount set forth in the attempted murder case.

"This case remains under investigation and additional charges may be filed," Rock Island County State's Attorney's Dora Villarreal wrote in a news release Tuesday. "Our office would like to thank all our local law enforcement agencies and officers for their rapid response and assistance with these two incidents. Their experience and dedication led to the suspect's quick apprehension."

Anyone with information regarding the East Moline case can contact the East Moline police at 309-752-1555.

The arson case is being jointly investigated by the Rock Island police and fire departments, according to the Rock Island police. Anyone with information can contact the police department at 309-732-2677.

People with information can also contact Crime Stoppers of the Quad-Cities at 309-762-9500, or use the P3 Tips mobile app.

East Moline Police were assisted by Silvis Police, Moline Police, Illinois State Police, Hampton Police, Colona Police, the Rock Island County Sheriff's Department, the FBI and the East Moline Fire Department.

2021 Officer of the Year

Lind earned 2021 Officer of the Year honors from the Breakfast Optimist Club that serves the Illinois Quad-Cities.

He was nominated for his work at the Quad-City Federal Gang Task Force.

Lind spearheaded one of the largest cases in the task force for illegal drug and weapon distribution in the Quad-City area. He also worked to stop several shootings in the spring of 2021 between two gangs that led to multiple arrests for firearms violations.

He also is involved with the Shop With a Cop and Holiday Food Baskets programs.

Rogers released from prison in 2021

Rogers was released from the Federal Bureau of Prisons on July 1, 2021, after serving about 26 years for convictions related to drug trafficking and a bank robbery with a firearm.

On Nov. 19, 1993, Rogers was involved in the armed robbery of the United Security Savings Bank of Davenport, according to federal court documents. Rogers, then 23, of Rock Island, and Reginald Walton, 25, of Davenport, made off with $53,429.

Rogers already had been indicted by a federal grand jury on August 29, 1993, on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to distribute cocaine after a joint investigation by the Metropolitan Enforcement Group, Internal Revenue Service and the Drug Enforcement Agency. He was out on bond on the drug trafficking-related charges when he committed the bank robbery.

Two days after the bank robbery, Rogers attempted to fake his own death, according to news reports from the Quad-City Times and The Rock Island Argus. Those reports said Rogers had been walking along Moline's Ben Butterworth Parkway with a female companion when she told authorities she became distracted, heard a splash and noticed Rogers was no longer at her side.

Authorities dragged the Mississippi River but doubted the incident from the beginning. Rogers was later captured in Atlanta.

On March 1, 1995, a federal jury found Rogers guilty of the bank robbery and of using a firearm during the commission of the crime.

He was sentenced to 80 months, or six years and eight months, in federal prison for the robbery, and a consecutive sentence of 60 months, or five years, for the firearms offense.

Those sentences were also consecutive to the 240-month (20-year) federal sentence that Rogers received for the cocaine-trafficking conviction. He was found to be a key figure in a Mexico-to- Los Angeles-to-Quad-Cities drug ring.

Tom Loewy contributed to this story.

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