UPDATE: The brother of one of the Maquoketa shooting victims says the incident was a ‘random act.’
“The families would like to inform everyone that this was a complete random act by a random person,” said Adam Morehouse, the brother of Sarah Schmidt, who was killed Friday in Maquoketa Caves State Park.
Morehouse spoke in a text to Local 4 News. “No one on either side knew the individual or had any connection or relation to that person.”
He referred to Anthony Sherwin, the suspected shooter who killed a family of three then turned the gun on himself.
EARLIER: A 9-year-old boy survived the shooting that killed three members of his family at Maquoketa Caves State Park, according to Cedar Falls Mayor Rob Green.
Green posted on social media that Arlo Schmidt “survived the attack, and is safe.”
Green also shared a GoFundMe link that included a picture of the family. $8,805 of the $20,000 goal had been raised at the time of this update.
EARLIER UPDATE: The victims of the triple-homicide at Maquoketa Caves State Park have been identified by the Iowa Department of Public Safety: Tyler Schmidt, 42, Sarah Schmidt, 42, and Lulu Schmidt, 6.
All were from Cedar Falls.
The Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner will conduct autopsies of all three victims. Once completed, the findings will be released. Additionally, the State Medical Examiner will perform an autopsy on suspect Anthony Orlando Sherwin, 23.
A deadly shooting at Maquoketa Caves on Friday morning. Three people killed by a gunman who then killed himself.
One question everyone wants answered: Why?
It’s not clear if that will come anytime soon.
Investigators say it happened around 6:30 a.m.
They found three people dead at the campgrounds. Then a short time later they discovered a man they say was the gunman who killed himself.
He’s been identified as 23-year-old Anthony Sherwin of Nebraska.
We don’t know the victim’s names yet.
Here is what Iowa DCI Agent Mitch Mortvedt had to say: “The three victims were found together in a tent and then the individual that was unaccounted for was from a different campsite, but within the same campground, but within some distance away. Those three individuals and his relationship is part of the ongoing investigation right now, at this time we haven’t been able to determine any type of prior relationship, but that doesn’t mean that you know there may not be something that we’re just not aware of yet.”
Today’s shooting left a man from Davenport in disbelief.
Scott Mejia’s son was at summer camp nearby. He spoke with Local 4 News. This happened to be his son’s last day at Camp Shalom.
The closing ceremony scheduled for 11 a.m. didn’t happen.
He got word from the camp about the situation around 10., and Camp Shalom posted on social media about “an emergency situation” that forced an evacuation at 10:05 a.m.
“It was kinda interesting in that the email that was sent out just describing the situation and that the children were being evacuated from the camp site to a different location,” Mejia said. “And asking parents and grandparents to find this other park to pick up children and stuff like that so it was … a little bit unnerving, I guess.”
Mejia says he’s happy camp operators reacted quickly with the best interest of the kids in mind.
In a press release, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) released the following statement regarding the incident at Maquoketa Caves State Park:
I, as well as the DNR staff, am devastated for the families impacted by the tragic incident at Maquoketa Caves State Park. Our long standing 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. 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. We appreciate the collaborative work between local law enforcement, the Iowa Department of Public Safety and the DNR State Parks staff and conservation officers on this investigation.Kayla Lyon, Iowa DNR Director
Three people were killed in a shooting at Maquoketa Caves State Park campground Friday morning and the suspected gunman is also dead, police said.
Police responded to reports of the shooting at the the Maquoketa Caves State Park Campground before 6:30 a.m., Mike Krapfl, special agent in charge of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, said in a statement.
Krapfl said officers responding to reports of shooting found three people dead at the scene, but he did not specify how they died and has not released their identities.
He said officers searching the campground later found the body of a Nebraska man who had died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Authorities identified him as 23-year-old Anthony Sherwin.
The campground was evacuated in the wake of the shooting. A children’s summer camp on site called Camp Shalom said in a Facebook post that parents had been notified and that it had established a pick-up site for campers.
Camp Shalom officials said they have accounted for all campers.
Krapfl said the park remains closed but that there is no longer a threat to the public.
— The Associated Press
The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation announced Friday that Maquoketa Caves State Park campground was the scene of a triple homicide.
Here is the full news release:
At about 6:23 a.m. this morning, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and DCI were notified of a triple homicide at the Maquoketa Caves State Park campground. Officers located three deceased bodies. Officers later found that a camper was unaccounted for. Following a search of the area, officers found the deceased body of Anthony Orlando Sherwin, 23, west of the park. Sherwin appears to have suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and there is no danger to the public.
At this time, the Maquoketa Caves State Park is an active crime scene and is closed until further notice.
EARLIER UPDATE: Camp Wyoming issued a statement on social media to inform parents that the camp is locked down due to “a shooting at the Maquoketa State Caves” and the shooter has not been taken into custody as of yet.”
Camp Wyoming said none of its camp groups were at the caves today.
A spokesperson at Maquoketa Caves confirmed to Local 4 News that the park is closed and the public is being asked to avoid the area while “an ongoing incident” is being investigated.
Maquoketa Caves posted on their website that “the entire park is closed until further notice.”
An “emergency situation” at Maquoketa Caves forced Camp Shalom to evacuate Friday morning, according to the camp’s social media accounts.
The camp said “all campers and staff are safe and accounted for.”
Local 4 News is on our way to the scene.
This is a developing story. Stay tuned to Local 4 News, Fox 18 News and OurQuadCities.com for updates. Got a news tip? Forward it to Local 4 on Twitter or Facebook or download our app on your iPhone or Android phone.