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Zachary Hays, charged for drive-by shooting on 90/94, was apparently “paranoid” after smoking pot

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SAUK COUNTY -- Four felony charges have been filed against 20-year-old Zachary Hays -- accused of committing a fatal shooting in West Allis, and a fatal drive-by shooting on I-90/94 in Sauk County on Sunday, May 1st. Hays was later shot by deputies on the interstate, after a pursuit.

Zachary Hays

Zachary Hays

Hays is facing the following charges:

  • First degree intentional homicide
  • First degree recklessly endangering safety (three counts)

The charges were filed on Wednesday, May 4th out of Sauk County -- and are charges related to the drive-by shooting on I-90/94.

Hays has not been charged for the murder in West Allis at this point.

Zachary Hays was taken into custody after he was shot by deputies on I-90/94 on Sunday afternoon. Two of his brothers, ages 30 and 34, were also arrested. Officials identified the 30-year-old brother as Jeremy Hays. The 34-year-old brother was not being identified due to a cognitive disability, officials said.

Officials have said Jeremy Hays is facing a tentative charge of felon in possession of a firearm. Charges have not been filed against him at this point.

Zachary Hays is suspected of killing 42-year-old Gabriel Sanchez in a West Allis apartment Sunday before shooting 44-year-old Tracy Czaczkowski in the drive-by shooting on I-90/94 in Sauk County.

Gabriel Sanchez and Tracy Czaczkowski

Gabriel Sanchez and Tracy Czaczkowski

The complaint filed out of Sauk County against Zachary Hays indicates officials spoke with Zachary Hays' brother, Jeremy -- who indicated he was a passenger in the Chevy Blazer on Sunday, and Zachary was driving.

Jeremy told investigators Zachary had smoked some marijuana on April 27th and had been "acting extremely paranoid" ever since.

Jeremy and Zachary Hays

Jeremy and Zachary Hays

Jeremy said he was concerned for his own safety -- as Zachary was carrying a handgun and a long barreled .45 caliber revolver.

According to Jeremy's statement to investigators, Zachary had made threats to kill Jeremy and the 34-year-old brother if they left him.

Jeremy said on Sunday afternoon, they stopped at a gas station near a Burger King restaurant in the Dells -- and then got onto I-90/94 -- headed eastbound.

Jeremy told investigators Zachary "began driving erratically and flipping people off."

Zachary had the .45 caliber pistol in his lap, and was "pointing it at cars as they drove by," Jeremy said.

FOX6 News spoke with a couple who said the drive-by shooting played out right in front of them.

"He tried to hit the SUV in front of us and then there was a black car in front of the SUV. Next thing I know, everyone is slamming on their brakes and the black car shot onto the median and a couple other cars shot onto the shoulder," the couple said.

The couple said they had no idea someone had been shot. They followed the Blazer, but soon realized that wasn't safe.

"We`re watching him aim the gun out the window and then several times, he turned around, looked right at us, and aimed the gun at us," the couple said.

The couple says their two grandchildren, ages seven and 10, were riding in the back seat.

"We know the 10-year-old did see the gun at one point," the wife said. "Immediately, the first thing he said was ‘don’t worry honey, it’s just a BB gun,’ and she just went back to listening to her music then."

Report of person shot in traffic on Hwy 39 near DeForest

The couple kept their distance, and tried to warn passing drivers of the danger ahead. They say the suspect was taunting them.

"He kept trying to wave me up to come alongside of him," the husband said. "I wouldn’t, and then he started getting madder and madder. He started flippin’ me off and he kept going back and forth in the two lanes."

Jeremy Hays said his brother was "particularly paranoid about cars that had tinted windows."

When they spotted the black sedan, Jeremy said Zachary was "freaking out about the tinted windows on the sedan." The complaint indicates Jeremy said Zachary began slowing down to let the sedan catch up on the left side -- and then Zachary shot at the black sedan three times.

One of those shots hit Tracy Czaczkowski in the neck. She was pronounced dead on May 2nd, and an autopsy was performed on May 4th -- indicating Czaczkowski died as a result of the gunshot wound.

Tracy Czaczkowski

Tracy Czaczkowski

A statement from the DEA indicated Czaczkowski's husband and two children were in the vehicle at the time of the shooting. They were headed home from the Dells.

Czaczkowski's husband has worked for the DEA for 11 years.

A fund has been set up in Czaczkowski's honor.

After the shooting, the complaint indicates the vehicle containing the three brothers "accelerated to approximately 90 miles-per-hour eastbound on I-90/94. Their vehicle was stopped in Dane County by "spike strips."

Zachary Hays, Jeremy Hays and the 34-year-old brother were taken into custody after Zachary Hays was shot by deputies.

Officials said Zachary Hays exited his vehicle after it was disabled by the spike strips -- and advanced toward law enforcement officials while armed.

He was then shot by two Columbia County Sheriff's deputies -- with 9.5 and 4.5 years of service.

Those deputies have been placed on administrative leave, per policy.

Report of person shot in traffic on Hwy 39 near DeForest

Report of person shot in traffic on Hwy 39 near DeForest

The alleged crime-spree Sunday began around 7:00 a.m. -- when West Allis police were dispatched to a four-unit apartment building near 92nd and Lincoln for a report of an individual forcibly entering at least two apartments.

Officers arrived on-scene, secured the area and during their search of the building, found a man with a gunshot wound. Officials with the West Allis Fire Department attempted treatment, but Gabriel Sanchez was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officers searched the apartment building and no other victims, nor the suspect, were located.

Manhunt underway for homicide suspect after shooting at apartment building in West Allis

Manhunt underway for homicide suspect after shooting at apartment building in West Allis

Neighbors told FOX6 News Sanchez and the suspect both lived in the building. The suspect reportedly lived upstairs, and Sanchez lived on the first floor.

Bullet hole in door at West Allis apartment building near 92nd and Lincoln

Bullet hole in door at West Allis apartment building near 92nd and Lincoln

FOX6 News has learned Sanchez's wife and children witnessed his murder. A fund has been set up for his funeral and burial.

Following this murder, a manhunt ensued for the suspect -- with police on scene in West Allis for most of the day. The area near 92nd and Lincoln was reopened to traffic nearly 12 hours after police first arrived at the scene.

During the course of the investigation into the homicide, police learned that a person of interest in the shooting was associated with Epikos Church on West Greenfield Avenue.

Police received information indicating the person of interest had made threatening statements regarding a member of the church. West Allis officers responded to the church to provide information to church officials and ensure the safety of church members.

No criminal activity occurred at Epikos Church.

If convicted of the first degree intentional homicide charge for the drive-by shooting in Sauk County, Zachary Hays faces life in prison.

If convicted of the first degree recklessly endangering safety charges, Hays faces 12 years and six months in prison on each charge.

30 comments

  • cannibal

    Im sure the dudes who wiped out that whole family over pot are really concerned what you ban or make legal

  • Paybacks are Hell

    If that had been my wife the only thing the cops would of hauled away was a body bag with his limp swiss cheese body full of holes. The broken injustice system will never give this man and his family the justice they deserve. He should be chain sawed to death one limb at a time until he’s dry bone meal.

    • Natasha

      This wasnt just pot. He consumed something else. Im sure he wasnt a pot virgin either. He took something else. Regardless I hope he rots in jail.

    • Cindy

      If you honestly believe that pot caused this you are dumb as h*ll. Seriously. 4 days later. Sounds more like meth or K2.

    • Z

      Stop living in the 1950’s morons.

      Weed doesn’t cause mental illness.

      You also don’t stay high for over 4 days.

  • Frank B

    But let’s legalize marijuana. That would make sense. Tired of these selfish low life’s taking loved ones away from their families. If there is clear and convincing evidence that you kill someone that person should be killed. We have to stop making things so complicated and start holding people accountable for their stupid decisions. Stop protecting the suspects and start protecting the general public!

    • Fed Up with Poor Reporting

      I would really like this whole pot thing to be put to bed. Anyone who has smoked pot or knows someone who has will gladly tell you this, whatever this was, it wasn’t the pot. The most victimized item in a pothead’s sights is a bag of Cheetos. That’s not to say the pot he smoked wasn’t laced with something heavier, like PCP (Angel Dust) or even cocaine (Chronic) In addition, it was his brother who had said he smoked pot and went all crazy paranoid. OK… pot does make you a little paranoid, mainly because it’s illegal and you start thinking every car is a cop car. Regardless, my point was it was his brother, who by the way looks like a very upstanding member of society himself, who tried to blame this on anything but himself, his brother, or his parents. It was the weed man, it had to have been the weed. IT WASN’T THE WEED. Also, and perhaps you’ve never smoked weed yourself, but the effects don’t last 4 days. Hell, they don’t last 4 hours.

      WHAT YOU HAVE HERE IS A BUNCH OF IDIOT THUGS LOOKING TO BLAME SOMETHING OTHER THAN THEMSELVES FOR THEIR OWN SENSELESS BEHAVIOR. BY BLAMING IT ON WEED, THEY’LL GET THE IDIOTS IN MADISON TO CONTINUE THE PROHIBITION ON MARIJUANA IN THIS STATE FOR 20 MORE YEARS. IF IT WERE THE WEED, I THINK YOU’D BE HEARING A LOT MORE OF THESE TYPES OF CRIMES IN PLACES LIKE COLORADO, WASHINGTON, OREGON, VERMONT, ETC. IN EACH OF THOSE PLACES, VIOLENT CRIME IS DOWN.

      word.

      • melanie

        uknownothingatall — your username is so incredibly fitting. Marijuana is not a gateway to mental illness. That statement in and of itself is plain nonsensical.

      • Cindy

        Fed up, you are SPOT ON. Pot did not cause this. That’s laughable. The situation is sad and horrible but it was not caused by a little weed from 4 days ago.

  • melanie

    Anybody who is linking this to pot has obviously never tried pot. Get real, this dude is just a psycho.

      • Angry Dad

        You seem very ignorant and uniformed on anything to do with marijuana and are doing exceptionally well with representing your name. Just like a liberal blaming a gun, you are totally blaming a plant that you obviously don’t know anything about instead of the actor.

  • Natasha

    I just love how Fox6 puts more emphasis on the shooting on I94/90 instead of saying a hispanic male was shot and killed in his West Allis apartment in front of his wife and two kids in the AM hours of Sunday…THEN the shooting happened about 12 hours later.

    • You Know Who You Are

      The emphasis is because he was “charged” for that crime. There will be an emphasis on the murder in West Allis once the charge comes down. Don’t try to race bait.

  • uknownothingatall

    And yet liberals continue their war to decriminalize the use of illegal drugs when we have a tremendous mental health crisis in this country with those troubled people using these drugs.

  • Leia

    If this criminal would have been black this story and the comments would be drastically different . First, the cops would have killed him on site. Comments would read all about ” that n!gger” or “those people.” Oh what a privelige to be white in Amerikkka.

    • Opinion8d

      I would have been great had the cops killed him. The difference is that you still won’t find any outrage from whites if they did. When crime happens to whites, the community speaks out, they snitch, they are supportive of the police. it’s not a race issue, but a cultural issue!

Comments are closed.