Boy, 9, is sole survivor of campground shooting that killed his parents and sister

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By VT

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A nine-year-old boy who had been out camping at an Iowa state park with his mother, father, and six-year-old sister managed to survive a shooting that sadly claimed the lives of the rest of his family.

The victims were identified by the Iowa Department of Public Safety as parents, 42-year-old Tyler Schmidt and 42-year-old Sarah Schmidt, and their six-year-old daughter, Lula Schmidt.

The three, all of Cedar Falls, Iowa, were found dead in their tent early on Friday at the Maquoketa Caves State Park Campground, about 180 miles east of Des Moines.

Police said the suspect, 23-year-old Anthony Sherwin, was also found dead on Friday in a wooded area of the park. He is believed to have fatally shot himself.

Mitch Mortvedt, assistant director of the Department of Public Safety's division of criminal investigation, told The Associated Press on Saturday that authorities were unaware of the motive for the shooting.

“We don’t know what led up to this, what precipitated it,” he said, adding that thus far, "the investigation has not revealed any early interaction between the Schmidt family and him."

Adam Morehouse, Sarah Schmidt's brother, believes the family did not know Sherwin and said it must have been a "completely random act."

In a post to Facebook on Friday, Cedar Falls Mayor Rob Green said that the deceased couple's son, nine-year-old Arlo, "survived the attack, and is safe."

He wrote in full: "This morning, while camping at Maquoketa Caves State Park, our neighbor and Cedar Falls Public Library employee Sarah Schmidt, along with her husband Tyler, and daughter Lula (age 6) lost their lives to a 23-year old gunman who then took his own life.

"Like many of you just hearing the news, I'm devastated. I knew Sarah well, and she and her family were regular walkers here in the Sartori Park neighborhood. I was working with her this week on a public library tech presentation for 7/26.

"Their 9 year old son Arlo survived the attack, and is safe. I've notified neighbors, and for those of you just learning about this through this post, I am so sorry. Details will be forthcoming about services and other memorials, and I will ensure the community knows about this.

"Please offer some extra grace to the Schmidts' many friends, neighbors, and coworkers as we try to process this horrible tragedy. The Cedar Falls Library will be closed tomorrow for the sake of the staff who loved and worked with Sarah."

Featured image credit: Ivan Kmit / Alamy

Boy, 9, is sole survivor of campground shooting that killed his parents and sister

vt-author-image

By VT

Article saved!Article saved!

A nine-year-old boy who had been out camping at an Iowa state park with his mother, father, and six-year-old sister managed to survive a shooting that sadly claimed the lives of the rest of his family.

The victims were identified by the Iowa Department of Public Safety as parents, 42-year-old Tyler Schmidt and 42-year-old Sarah Schmidt, and their six-year-old daughter, Lula Schmidt.

The three, all of Cedar Falls, Iowa, were found dead in their tent early on Friday at the Maquoketa Caves State Park Campground, about 180 miles east of Des Moines.

Police said the suspect, 23-year-old Anthony Sherwin, was also found dead on Friday in a wooded area of the park. He is believed to have fatally shot himself.

Mitch Mortvedt, assistant director of the Department of Public Safety's division of criminal investigation, told The Associated Press on Saturday that authorities were unaware of the motive for the shooting.

“We don’t know what led up to this, what precipitated it,” he said, adding that thus far, "the investigation has not revealed any early interaction between the Schmidt family and him."

Adam Morehouse, Sarah Schmidt's brother, believes the family did not know Sherwin and said it must have been a "completely random act."

In a post to Facebook on Friday, Cedar Falls Mayor Rob Green said that the deceased couple's son, nine-year-old Arlo, "survived the attack, and is safe."

He wrote in full: "This morning, while camping at Maquoketa Caves State Park, our neighbor and Cedar Falls Public Library employee Sarah Schmidt, along with her husband Tyler, and daughter Lula (age 6) lost their lives to a 23-year old gunman who then took his own life.

"Like many of you just hearing the news, I'm devastated. I knew Sarah well, and she and her family were regular walkers here in the Sartori Park neighborhood. I was working with her this week on a public library tech presentation for 7/26.

"Their 9 year old son Arlo survived the attack, and is safe. I've notified neighbors, and for those of you just learning about this through this post, I am so sorry. Details will be forthcoming about services and other memorials, and I will ensure the community knows about this.

"Please offer some extra grace to the Schmidts' many friends, neighbors, and coworkers as we try to process this horrible tragedy. The Cedar Falls Library will be closed tomorrow for the sake of the staff who loved and worked with Sarah."

Featured image credit: Ivan Kmit / Alamy