Prosecutor: South Haven pier shooter planned school shooting in 2018

Prosecutor: South Haven pier shooter planned school shooting in 2018


SOUTH HAVEN, Mich.—Law enforcement officials gave an update Monday on the fatal shooting that happened Friday on a South Haven beach pier.

Officials said the shooting on the pier, which happened around 2 p.m., was random. Police said a man shot and killed one man and critically injured a woman before taking his own life.

"This was a tragedy that we feel could and should have been prevented. Our goal must be to make sure this doesn't happen again in our community," Van Buren County Prosecuting Attorney Susan Zuiderveen said.

Zuiderveen said the shooter, 19-year-old Aidan Ingalls of Bangor, was prosecuted by her office in 2018 for planning an attack using explosives and firearms at Paw Paw High School.

"He had a backpack with a sawed-off shotgun and explosives ready to use first thing Monday morning as students were entering the school," Zuiderveen said. Family members turned Ingalls in to law enforcement. 

A journal was found in Ingalls’ bedroom detailing plans for "carrying out mass killings” and “injuring large numbers of people," Zuiderveen said. 

Ingalls' journal included plans for a shooting at the beach in South Haven during a Fourth of July fireworks show, according to Zuiderveen.

Ingalls was tried as a juvenile in the 2018 case, despite the prosecutor’s office request that he be tried as an adult because "the public safety risk was too great and the alleged offense too heinous to allow a juvenile sentence," Zuiderveen said. 

The teenager could have faced prison time if prosecuted and sentenced as an adult, Zuiderveen said.

Ingalls was released from a juvenile detention facility in November 2019 to the care of a relative. He was then released from probation on July 20, 2021, 31 days prior to the shooting in South Haven. 

Once Ingalls turned 19-years-old, he was no longer under the supervision of the juvenile justice system, according to Zuiderveen.

Two people died in Friday’s shooting on the South Haven pier, Ingalls and another man.

A third person, a woman, was injured in the shooting and remained in critical condition on Monday.

Police have not released the identities of the victims, a couple from southwest Michigan, out of respect for the family. Officials said the family would release a statement at a later time.

Michigan State Police said that the FBI is investigating how Ingalls acquired the guns used in Friday’s shooting.

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