Moline police not at fault for burglary suspects death from a heart attack when fleeing on a bicycle

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The Rock Island County State’s Attorney released a report on Friday, Sept. 15 on an East Moline officer-involved incident that resulted in the death of a Silvis man.

State’s Attorney Dora Villareal found that East Moline Police Officer Adam Zimmer was completely justified in his actions in the early morning hours of Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023.

East Moline Police received a report of a burglary in progress in the 400 block of 17th Avenue, just before 1 a.m. on Sept. 6. Officer Zimmer was searching the residential neighborhood to the south of this location when he encountered Louis Griffin, 62, of Silvis, near 19th Avenue and 5th Street. Griffin matched the description of a suspect provided by the reporting party to the burglary.

The Rock Island County Integrity Task Force (ITF) is activated whenever there’s an officer-involved incident that results in a death. The ITF consists of officers from the Illinois State Police and other local agencies—with the exception of officers from the agency involved.

At approximately 3 a.m. on Sept. 6, ITF officers arrived on scene at the intersection in East Moline and to Genesis Medical Center in Silvis to collect evidence and investigate Griffin’s death, which was ruled Sept. 6 due to “significant cardiac issues,” and no foul play was suspected.

An autopsy of Griffin was conducted later that same day at the Winnebago County Coroner’s office in Rockford by Dr. Mark Peters. The preliminary report showed no signs of obvious trauma or injury to the body, and found the death attributable to cardiac arrest and natural causes, according to Friday’s six-page report from the State’s Attorney’s office.

Griffin’s heart showed signs of aortic and mitral valve blockages with abnormal heart enlargement, the report said. Toxicology was sent to the laboratory and those results remain pending. A search warrant was issued to Genesis Hospital for Griffin’s medical records to determine whether he had any pre-existing conditions or prior medical trauma that could have contributed to his death.

Medical records were turned over to ITF and reviewed by the State’s Attorney. The records showed that Griffin was previously diagnosed with cardiovascular and endocrinal conditions. His death was diagnosed by Genesis as cardiac arrest and acute myocardial infarction.

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