The Washington Post
9-year-old survived Iowa park shooting
The three people killed at an Iowa campground on Friday were a mother, father and child, according to law enforcement and local officials.
The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation identified them as Tyler and Sarah Schmidt, both 42, and their daughter, Lula, 6, of Cedar Falls, Iowa.
The Schmidts’ 9-year-old son, Arlo, “survived the attack, and is safe,” Cedar Falls Mayor Rob Green wrote in a Facebook post.
Police said they were “notified of a triple homicide” on Friday morning at the Maquoketa Caves State Park campground in eastern Iowa. Officers found the slain couple and their daughter and, after a brief search, the body of Anthony Orlando Sherwin, 23, police said. Sherwin, who is suspected in the killings, apparently shot himself, police added.
The state medical examiner is set to conduct autopsies on the victims, as well as on Sherwin, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation said. A motive was not yet clear Sunday afternoon.
A Gofundme fundraiser for Arlo Schmidt had drawn 2,500 donations totaling more than $125,000 as of Sunday afternoon.
The state park — about 61 miles northeast of Cedar Rapids — was closed after the shooting, which also forced the evacuation of a children’s summer camp.
Felicia Coe of Des Moines told The Washington Post that she, her boyfriend and his children were camping nearby when they heard “two loud thuds” but did not think much about them. Then, she said, her boyfriend and another friend camping there heard a scream and noises that sounded like fireworks. Later, Coe said, she saw a boy waiting near two ambulances wearing pajamas and one blue shoe.
Coe, 35, said her boyfriend’s 16-year-old son had gone for a jog earlier and saw an older couple looking for someone named Anthony — the suspect’s first name.
Anthony Sherwin was from La Vista, Neb., where he lived in an apartment complex with his parents, and had no criminal history, La Vista Police Chief Bob Lausten told the Des Moines Register.
Sherwin’s mother, Cecilia Sherwin, told the Omaha World-herald in an email that she and her family were camping at the park Friday when she heard yelling and two gunshots. She said a boy came up to her and told her that a man had shot his family. She said her family was legally traveling with a gun in a secure container.
“We think (Anthony) might have sensed trouble and grabbed the gun for safety,” Sherwin wrote. “We refuse to believe the news.” In a second email to the WorldHerald, she said she and her family “cooperated fully with the police and investigative team.”
She again expressed doubt that he had killed the Schmidts. “Anthony was not capable of this sort of violence,” she said.