Girl, 6, among three killed in shooting at Iowa state park; gunman also dead

Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 10:03 AM PDT|Updated: Jul. 22, 2022 at 12:57 PM PDT
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MAQUOKETA, Iowa (KCRG/Gray News) - The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation confirmed three people were found dead at a camp site at the Maquoketa Caves State Park Campground on Friday morning.

The victims of the triple homicide have been identified as a family from Cedar Falls, 42-year-old Tyler Schmidt, 42-year-old Sarah Schmidt and 6-year-old Lula Schmidt.

Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Kayla Lyon said they are devastated for the families affected.

Our longstanding tradition of enjoying Iowa’s natural wonders was shaken today, but the legacy for the millions of families that recreate at Iowa State Parks will continue,” Lyon said. “This heartbreaking incident hits home for the DNR family; not only as people who are passionate about getting folks outside, but as people who regularly camp with our families at these same parks.”

Officers found the victims fatally shot in a tent on the campground, said Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation division assistant director Mitch Mortvedt.

Once an evacuation was complete, the only registered camper not accounted for was 23-year-old Anthony Sherwin, Mortvedt said.

Officers said they later found him dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Investigators don’t believe he had any prior relationship with the victims, Mortvedt said.

The Des Moines Register reported that Sherwin came from La Vista, Nebraska. La Vista Police Chief Bob Lausten told the newspaper that Sherwin had lived in an apartment complex with his parents and that he had no history of criminal conduct.

Autopsies on Sherwin and the victims were scheduled to be performed over the weekend, and more information would likely be released based on those findings.

Law enforcement set up a perimeter around the park and asked people to stay away as the investigation remains ongoing.

The campground is evacuated, including Camp Shalom, where children and their counselors were holding camp this week. It’s a camp designed to inspire people to live peacefully.

Camp Shalom said in a Facebook post that parents had been notified and that it had established a pickup site. Officials said they have accounted for all campers.

The park remained closed Friday.

Copyright 2022 KCRG via Gray Media Group, Inc. The Associated Press contributed to the report. All rights reserved.