KDPS: Double homicide ‘not something you would’ve saw coming’

Zachary Patten
A July 21, 2017 booking photo of Zachary Patten. (St. Joseph County Jail)


KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Authorities say the suspect wanted in connection to two homicides in two counties is in custody.

Zachary Michael Patten, 32, turned himself into police in South Bend, Indiana Friday, according St. Joseph County Prosecutor John McDonough.

Police said two officers were leaving an unrelated call when Patten approached them and said he needed to be arrested. When officers asked Patten why, he mentioned shooting two people in Michigan.

The South Bend police officers verified Patten was wanted and arrested him. St. Joseph County-Metro Homicide Detective Chris Kronewitter said Patten agreed to speak with Michigan officers, who traveled to South Bend to interview him.

Patten was taken to the St. Joseph County Jail in South Bend, and police said they think he will have an extradition hearing on Tuesday.

It’s unknown when Patten will brought back to Michigan because it depends on if he waives extradition.

‘A TRAGEDY’: BYSTANDER KILLED IN KALAMAZOO

The first shooting happened around 9:38 p.m. Thursday at a mobile home park in the 1800 block of Tray Lane in Kalamazoo.

Police investigate after a woman was shot to death in Kalamazoo (July 21, 2017)

Police said a 31-year-old woman was shot. Officers performed CPR, but she died on scene.

Authorities had said the victim and suspect knew each other, but KDPS Chief Jeff Hadley later told 24 Hour News 8 that she was a bystander. Hadley said the suspect was arguing with a man in the mobile home park at the time of the shooting.

“Unfortunately the individual that was killed was not the suspect’s intended target and that’s a tragedy. You know, we’ve got two families here in southwest Michigan that are never going to be the same,” said Capt. Shannon Bagley with the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety.

The victim’s husband told 24 Hour News 8 that he believes Patten’s intended target was his wife’s brother. He says his wife’s brother has been involved with one of Patten’s exes.

The victim’s husband said they live next door and other family members live in the house where the shooting happened. The victim and her brother were inside the house when the suspect showed up and began shooting.

“This is an individual that had very little law enforcement contact here in Kalamazoo. This is not something that you would’ve saw coming,” said Bagley.

POLICE: SUSPECT FATALLY SHOT EX-WIFE’S HUSBAND

The second shooting happened around 10:15 p.m. Thursday at home in the 16000 block of Featherstone Road in Florence Township, south of Three Rivers.

Deputies investigating a deadly shooting at home in the 16000 block of Featherstone Road in Florence Township. (July 21, 2017)

Lillywhite said the suspect forced his way into the home, got into a struggle with the victim and shot him. The victim was taken to the hospital where he died from his injuries.

KDPS Chief Hadley told 24 Hour News 8 that the victim is believed to be the husband of Patten’s ex-wife.

“My heart goes out to her. She’s in our prayers. As a neighbor, we’re here if there’s anything we can do for her,” said Barbara Laughman, who lives nearby.

While there is no official word on why Patten might shoot his ex-wife’s husband, court records show the divorced couple had a rocky relationship.

In 2005, Patten’s ex-wife took out a personal protection order against Patten, who was her boyfriend at the time. The order detailed a controlling, abusive relationship.

The couple divorced in 2014. Patten was granted visitations with their three children, ages 17, 11 and 8 years old, but recently filed for changes in his visitation time.

In response to Patten’s request, his ex-wife expressed concerns about his mental state. She provided screen shots of text messages between her and Patten, some which showed a calm discussion about visitations while others were threatening to both the ex-wife and her husband.

In the court response, Patten’s ex-wife said he suffers from Bipolar disorder. She said he can be extremely agreeable, but at other times he’s extremely angry, vulgar and threatening.

According to a neighbor, Patten’s ex-wife is expecting her first child with the victim, who was described as an involved stepfather. The neighbor told 24 Hour News 8 that three children lived at the house.

“We have some families that are hurting today from a very senseless and horrific act. So our thoughts and prayers go out to them,” said Bagley. “There’s things you just can’t make sense of and this is one of them. But our thoughts and prayers are with those families and as we move forward, we’ll continue to keep them in our thoughts.”

Anyone with information in this case is asked to call the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety at 269.337.8994 or Silent Observer at 269.343.2100.

**Correction: In an earlier version of this story, the spelling of the suspect’s last name was incorrect.**