The Schmidts are survived by their 9-year-old son Arlo, who “survived the attack and is safe,” Cedar Falls mayor Rob Green wrote in a Facebook post.
At the Maquoketa Caves State Park campground in eastern Iowa, Friday morning was “notified of a triple homicide.” Upon arrival, officers found the three victims and, after a brief search, the body of Anthony Orlando Sherwin, 23, the suspect in the murders who apparently shot himself, police said.
3 people killed in Iowa State Park shooting; gunman also dead, police say
The state coroner will perform autopsies on the victims, as well as Sherwin, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation said. A motive was not yet clear.
Green said he was “devastated” by the loss of the family, noting that they were “regular walkers here in the Sartori Park neighborhood” of Cedar Falls, a city of 40,000. He remembered Sarah Schmidt as “a beloved librarian” at the Cedar Falls Public Library, where Green invited neighbors and friends to leave cards and mementos in honor of the family.
Last Saturday, a GoFundMe fundraiser for Arlo Schmidt had collected more than 2,000 donations amounting to more than $100,000. “Arlo is a strong boy, surrounded by family and friends who support him as best they can,” said Beth Shapiro, the organizer of the fundraiser, who said she was Sarah Schmidt’s niece.
Adam Morehouse, Sarah Schmidt’s brother, told the Associated Press that the family had no connection to Sherwin and that he believed it was a “completely arbitrary act.” Morehouse confirmed that Arlo was on the family’s camping trip, but said he wasn’t sure where the boy was at the time of the shooting.
The state park was closed after the shooting, forcing the children’s summer camp Camp Shalom to be evacuated as well.
Known as a destination for spelunkers and hikers, Maquoketa Caves State Park has more caves than any other state park in Iowa. About 61 miles northeast of Cedar Rapids, Maquoketa Caves State Park features 13 caves, including Dancehall Cave, which is about 800 feet long, according to the website.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds (R) said in a: pronunciation that she was “shocked by the shooting this morning in Maquoketa Caves State Park and devastated by the loss of three innocent lives.”
Timothy Bella contributed to this report.