Judge defends how pier shooter's earlier case was handled

Associated Press

South Haven — A judge in southwestern Michigan is defending the work of a fellow judge after a young man with a juvenile criminal record randomly shot two people on a Lake Michigan pier.

Aidan Ingalls, 19, was released from court supervision in July, three years after he was accused of plotting an attack at Paw Paw High School. He was 15 at the time.

Ingalls last week shot and killed Chuck Skuza, 73, and critically injured his wife, Barb Skuza, 72, at the South Haven beach pier, police said. He then killed himself.

Police respond to a shooting on the South Haven Pier in South Haven, Michigan on Friday.

Critics, including the Paw Paw police chief, said Van Buren County Judge Jeffrey Dufon mishandled Ingalls' earlier case by not treating him as an adult, a status that might have kept him in custody and under court supervision for a longer period.

But Chief Judge Kathleen Brickley defended Dufon, MLive.com reported.

“In this case, after much deliberation, there was agreement by the elected prosecutor at the time that the chosen path forward was the right one, and there was no appeal of the court’s decision,” Brickley said.

She released a timeline of Ingalls' earlier juvenile court case. He was in a detention center for three months, followed by 17 months in a juvenile residential facility and subsequent foster care.

“During his time under court supervision, he had no probation violations and he completed all court requirements. ... Mr. Ingalls was receiving community-based mental health services at the time of his court case closure,” the statement said.