A nine-year-old boy who was camping with his parents and six-year-old sister at an Iowa state park survived a shooting that killed his family.
The Iowa Department of Public Safety identified the victims as Tyler Schmidt, his wife Sarah Schmidt, both 42, and their daughter Lula Schmidt, 6, all of Cedar Falls, Iowa. Their bodies were found in their tent early Friday morning at the Maquoketa Caves State Park campground, about 180 miles east of Des Moines.
The alleged shooter, 23-year-old Anthony Sherwin, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a wooded area of the park on Friday, authorities said.
Mitch MortvedtThe deputy director of the Department of Public Safety’s Criminal Investigation Division told The Associated Press on Saturday that the motive for the attack was still unknown.
“We don’t know what led to this, what motivated it,” he said, adding that “there was no prior connection between the Schmidt family and him in the investigation.”
Adam MorehouseSarah Schmidt’s brother said the family had no relationship with Sherwin and believed it was a “totally random act.”
Cedar Falls Mayor Rob Greene, who said he was a neighbor of the Schmidt family, posted on Facebook Friday that the couple’s 9-year-old son, Arlo, “survived the attack and is safe.” The post did not clarify whether Arlo was at the store or at the campground when the incident occurred, and Meyer told the AP that he did not have those details.
Morehouse confirmed Arlo was on a family camping trip, but said he did not know where the boy was at the time of the shooting or the details of how it happened.
“He’s with his family, he’s fine, but I haven’t had any contact with him,” Morehouse said Saturday. “As far as I know, he wasn’t physically hurt.”
The killings prompted the evacuation of the park and camp, including a children’s summer camp. After the ejections, according to Mortvet, Sherwin was the only person unaccounted for.
“Music ninja. Analyst. Typical coffee lover. Travel evangelist. Proud explorer.”