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Local News

Four Dead in Shooting at Maquoketa Caves State Park

Three people were found shot to death in the campground at Maquoketa Caves State Park early Friday morning and state officials say suspect has been found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Authorities have identified the suspected gunman as 23-year-old Anthony Sherwin of Nebraska. Police arrived at Maquoketa Caves State Park shortly before 7 a.m. after reports of a shooting and found the bodies of three campers. The campground was evacuated and the park was closed. The suspect’s body was found between 11 and 11:30 a.m. west of the park.

The victims have been identified as 42-year old Tyler Schmidt, 42-year old Sarah Schmidt and 6-year old Lulu Schmidt, all of Cedar Falls.

Neither a motive nor connection has been identified between the suspect and the victims.

An agent with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation says there is no threat to the public, but the park will remain closed.

The investigation is ongoing.

Governor Kim Reynolds has released a statement.

“I’m horrified by the shooting this morning at Maquoketa Caves State Park and devastated by the loss of three innocent lives. As we grieve this unimaginable tragedy, Kevin and I pray for the victims’ family members and the law enforcement officers who responded to the scene. We ask Iowans to do the same.”

Iowa DNR Director Kayla Lyon, also released a statement on Friday afternoon.

“I, as well as the DNR staff, are 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.”

story contribution courtesy of Radio Iowa

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