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VIEWPOINT: Court documents: Retired Moline cop followed his victims
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VIEWPOINT: Court documents: Retired Moline cop followed his victims

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The mugshot hinted at a fight.

When retired Moline Police Capt. Jerome "Jerry" Patrick, 56, was arrested in September, his booking photo suggested he'd been hit in the face. A red mark on his left cheek and the beginnings of a black eye added to the mystery of a high-ranking former cop being accused of shooting at people from his car.

Details described in a recently filed search-warrant affidavit reveal what witnesses say happened two months ago — late Sept. 11 and early the next morning, Sept. 12.

A bartender at a tavern on 15th Street in Moline told police he knows Patrick and said the retired captain arrived around sundown, driving his silver 1997 Mercedes Benz convertible. The sun set shortly after 7 p.m. that night.

Other witnesses estimate Patrick left the bar, Les & Molly's, around midnight, which places him there for about five hours.

Two witnesses told police they were at Les & Molly's together and saw Patrick fighting with two other men.

They said the former captain repeatedly offered to buy a woman a drink. When the woman's family members arrived, one of them asked Patrick to leave them alone. Patrick responded by punching the man, according to one account.

The brother of the man punched by Patrick also became involved in the altercation, the witnesses said. During the fight, they said, Patrick said he was a police officer. After the fight, "Patrick kept running his mouth," one said.

What is not clear from the court-filed documents is why Patrick would have pursued the two witnesses, rather than the men with whom he had allegedly been fighting. But that's what the documents allege.

The pair said they left the bar between 12:30 a.m. and 1 a.m. and estimated Patrick left a half-hour before them. Just a few blocks from the bar, they told police, they noticed they were being followed. The silver Mercedes Benz convertible behind them followed them into the alley off Avenue of the Cities and 25th Street, Moline, which is the home of one of the witnesses.

"As the vehicle was driving by him, he (the witness) observed the driver holding a gun in the air," the affidavit states. "As the vehicle approached (the witness) ducked down ... recalled hearing a gunshot and seeing smoke in the air."

The gun was described as a revolver that looked like a .357 magnum. And both witnesses said the man with the gun was the same man from the fight at Les & Molly's.

The female witness also described hearing a single gunshot, but police were not notified until the next day. Shortly after responding officers from the Moline Police Department were sent to the scene on Sept. 12, the Illinois State Police were called in to take over the investigation, given the obvious potential conflict.

"(The male witness) contacted a friend and learned Patrick was a retired police officer," according to the affidavit. "(He) explained, because he had learned Patrick was a police officer, he did not initially contact the police about the incident."

When the pair discovered "a defect consistent with a bullet strike" near the driver's side windshield of the truck they had been driving, they called police. The male witness picked Patrick out of a police lineup as the person who shot at them, the record states.

Patrick was arrested in Davenport on Sept. 13, charged with four felonies: two counts each of aggravated discharge of a firearm and aggravated assault. He has pleaded not guilty.

He briefly was jailed in Scott County and never was booked into Rock Island County. He waived extradition but never was transported to Illinois. When someone posted the required 10% of his $250,000 bail, Rock Island County told Scott County to go ahead and cut him loose. He's been free since then and is permitted to travel to Scott County from his home in Moline.

Patrick has been in trouble before. He's been the subject of at least two investigations that resulted from allegations of violent conduct toward one former and another estranged wife, but he never was charged. Five years after he was accused of assaulting his first wife and another law-enforcement officer, he was promoted to captain.

In this case, it would appear the witnesses are telling the same story, and no one else involved is in law enforcement.

At least three witnesses told police about Patrick fighting at the bar. Two of them identified him as the man who followed them home and at least one said he's the guy who fired a gun at them. Police found evidence of the shooting, and it's a safe bet in today's world that a security camera somewhere captured something.

In other words, maybe there's a case this time.

Contact Barb Ickes at 563-383-2316 or bickes@qctimes.com

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