Double murder suspect’s BAC .215 after crash

Zachary Patten 072417_374728

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Police reports show the man accused of killing two people in southwest Michigan had a blood alcohol content level nearly three times the legal limit and was combative after a car crash in Indiana.

Zachary Patten is accused of shooting and killing 31-yedar-old Graciela Portillo-Esparza in Kalamazoo and then his ex-wife’s husband, Shane Richard, near Three Rivers on the night of July 20.

After the second shooting, Patten drove to South Bend. According to police reports obtained Wednesday through a Freedom of Information Act request, he crashed his car into a parking gate at the South Bend Airport just before midnight.

When officers arrived, Patten was outside his car. They say he ignored them and got back in to his car, driving over a median. After about an eighth of a mile, he stopped the car. According to the police reports, when he ignored officers’ commands to get out of the car, they used a Taser on him and pulled him out of the car.

Police reports say Patten smelled strongly of alcohol, wasn’t speaking clearly and couldn’t stand up straight. When given a breathalyzer, he blew a BAC of .215, the reports said. Like in Michigan, the legal limit to drive in Indiana is .08.

In his car, according to the reports, officers found a loaded 9 mm handgun — apparently the same one used in the homicides — and loose ammunition.

Officers took Patten to a local hospital, where he had to be restrained because he was violent with staff members, the police reports said.

Police filed a case against Patten for operating while intoxicated, possessing a handgun without a license, resisting arrest and leaving the scene of a crash. Unaware that he was the suspect in the double homicide in Michigan, officers didn’t take him to jail — though they did confiscate his gun.

Eventually, Patten was discharged from the hospital. Later that day, he walked up to two South Bend officers outside a grocery store in South Bend and told them he had shot two people. He was arrested.

Patten, of Portage, was soon returned to Michigan. He has since been charged with murder and weapons charges in both Kalamazoo and St. Joseph counties, as well as home invasion in the St. Joseph County case. He has been ordered to undergo a competency exam in the St. Joseph County case.

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