A nine-year-old boy camping in an Iowa state park with his parents and six-year-old sister has survived a shooting that killed the rest of 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 from Cedar Falls, Iowa. Their bodies were found in their tent early Friday at the Maquoketa Caves State Park campground, about 180 miles east of Des Moines.
Authorities said the alleged shooter, 23-year-old Anthony Sherwin, was found dead Friday in a wooded area of the park with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Mitch Mortvedtdeputy director of the Department of Public Safety’s criminal investigation division, told The Associated Press on Saturday that the motive for the attack is still unknown.
“We don’t know what led to this, what precipitated it,” he said, adding that so far, “the investigation has not revealed any prior interaction between the Schmidt family and him.”
Adam Morehousebrother of Sarah Schmidt, said the family had no relationship with Sherwin and believed it was a “completely random act.”
Cedar Falls Mayor Rob Green, who said he is 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 explain whether Arlo was at the store or even at the campsite when the incident occurred, and the mayor told the AP that he did not have those details.
Morehouse confirmed that Arlo was on the family’s camping trip, but added that he did not know exactly where the boy was at the time of the shooting or have any details about how it happened.
“He’s with his family and he’s fine, but I haven’t had any interaction with him,” Morehouse said Saturday. “As far as I know, he was not physically injured.”
The killings prompted the evacuation of the park and camp, including a children’s summer camp. After the evacuations, Sherwin was the only person unaccounted for, according to Mortvedt.