Man wrote he felt ‘acceptance’ ahead of shooting 2, suicide on South Haven pier

Van Buren County

SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — The man who opened fire on a South Haven pier, killing a man and injuring a woman before turning the gun on himself, wrote in a suicide note that he felt “absolutely nothing except content and acceptance.”

Aidan Ingalls, 19, shot and killed Charles Skuza and wounded his wife Barbara Skuza of the Kalamazoo area on the South Pier on the afternoon of Aug. 20. Ingalls then killed himself.

Investigation reports from the South Haven Police Department show that on the day of the shooting, Ingalls went to the South Haven Big Boy where he worked and left behind a backpack. Inside were two journals, one of which ended with a journal entry believed to be from the day of the shooting, though it was misdated.

“Here I am and for the first time in what feels like ages, I don’t really feel sick,” the entry read, according to the police report. “I don’t feel anxious, nervous, excited, happy, sad, etc. I feel absolutely nothing except content and acceptance.”

A photo of Aidan Ingalls. (courtesy)

The entry is brief, going on only to say that Ingalls loved his family, “even my mother.”

“No matter what, I would still love you,” he wrote.

“My only regret is knowing what emotions will bring to my loved ones. That and falling in love,” the entry continued.

He signed it “Memento Mari” — presumably a misspelling of the Latin “memento mori,” which means, “remember that you die” — and his full name.

Also in the backpack left at the Big Boy were envelopes marked with his co-workers’ names filled with cash — nearly $1,400 altogether.

When the workers at the Big Boy called police to tell them about the backpack and apparent suicide note, they did not know that Ingalls had already shot two people and himself on the South Pier.

The police reports include accounts from people who were on the pier and beach when it happened. One said she saw Ingalls sitting on the pier and then approach a couple. She said she saw the Barbara Skuza turn around to see Ingalls pointing a gun at her.

“What are you doing?” the witness heard Barbara Skuza ask.

Ingalls shot her in the face, then shot her husband in the head.

Witness said he then fired more shots down the pier, toward the beach, out toward the water and toward the North Pier. A News 8 camera overlooking the beach and pier captured people sprinting away at the sound of gunfire and a number of them rushing to take cover behind large erosion barriers.

A woman on the North Pier said she grabbed her daughter and took cover behind the lighthouse, avoiding at least one shot. One shot hit a passing Jet Ski; the rider wasn’t hurt. Another person on the beach said a bullet flew past her head and hit the sand next to her.

It was all over in minutes. In all, witnesses described hearing as many as seven gunshots.

Charles Skuza, 73, died on the pier. Barbara Skuza, 71, was rushed to the hospital. She was transferred to a rehabilitation hospital several days later, on what would have been her 47th wedding anniversary.

An undated courtesy from family of Charles and Barbara Skuza.

When investigators went to Ingalls’ grandparents’ house after the shooting, they found a video he recorded on the day of the shooting. In it, the reports say, he could be seen loading two handguns, including the one used in the shooting, and reading out what he called his “last will and testament.”

Also in the basement bedroom at his grandparents’ house, investigators said they found some court documents related to that case, some 2018 news reports, reports on some celebrity suicide, several religious texts and a number of books and documents about and by serial or mass killers.

Ingalls had previously been ordered to undergo psychological treatment after planning an attack on his school, Paw Paw High School, in 2018 when he was 15. That plan failed when his mother confronted him and he admitted to her what he intended to do.

Police say the gun found near Ingalls’ body, a 9 mm pistol, and a pellet gun he threw into the channel that was later retrieved by divers, were marked with swastikas or other white supremacist symbols.

*Correction: A previous version of the headline for this article incorrectly characterized the shooting. One person was shot and killed, one shot and injured and one died by suicide in the incident. We regret the error, which has been fixed.

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