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.
Law enforcement was “notified of a triple homicide” Friday morning at the Maquoketa Caves State Park campground in eastern Iowa. Upon arrival, officers found the three victims and, after a brief search, the body of Anthony Orlando Sherwin, 23, the murder suspect who apparently took his own life, police said.
3 people killed in shooting at Iowa State Park; the shooter is also dead, police say
The state medical examiner is set to perform autopsies on the victims, as well as Sherwin, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigations 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 town of 40,000. He remembered Sarah Schmidt as “a beloved library worker” at the Cedar Falls Public Library, where Green invited neighbors and friends to leave cards and keepsakes in honor of the family.
On Saturday night, a GoFundMe fundraiser for Arlo Schmidt drew more than 2,000 donations totaling over $100,000. “Arlo is a strong boy, surrounded by his family and friends who support him as best we can,” said fundraiser Beth Shapiro, who said she is Sarah’s cousin. Schmidt.
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 random act”. Morehouse confirmed Arlo was on a family camping trip, but said he was unsure of the boy’s whereabouts at the time of the shooting.
The state park was closed after the shooting, which also forced the evacuation of the Camp Shalom children’s summer camp.
Known as a destination for cavers 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 its website.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds (right) said in a statement that she was “horrified by this morning’s shooting at Maquoketa Caves State Park and devastated by the loss of three innocent lives”.
Timothy Bella contributed to this report.