9-year-old boy loses mom, dad, and 6-year-old sister in front of his eyes as they are shot during camping trip

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A tragic incident involving the death of three family members, a mother, father, and child, took place at the Maquoketa Caves State Park Campground before 6:30 a.m. on Friday. The Iowa Department of Public Safety identified the victims of the shooting as Tyler Schmidt, 42; his 42-year-old wife, Sarah Schmidt; and their 6-year-old daughter, Lula Schmidt, all of Cedar Falls, Iowa. Their 9-year-old son Arlo survived the incident. An intruder is suspected by the police to be the gunman behind the killings. 23-year-old Anthony Sherwin was found dead the same in a wooded area of the park with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, reports HuffPost.

A motive for their deaths has not yet been determined. Mitch Mortvedt, assistant director of the Department of Public Safety’s division of criminal investigation, told The Associated Press, “We don’t know what led up to this, what precipitated it,” he said, mentioning that so far, “the investigation has not revealed any early interaction between the Schmidt family and him.” Sarah Schmidt’s brother believes it was “completely random act.” A GoFundMe was created by a cousin, Beth Shapiro, which is hoping to raise funds for the 9-year-old boy Arlo who survived the incident. It read: Arlo is a strong boy, surrounded by family and friends who are supporting him as best we can. Some of you have asked how you might help, so we (Sarah and Tyler’s siblings and me, Sarah’s cousin) created this fund to allow anyone who would like to help Arlo. We will use you generous donations to help Arlo now and to build some savings for his future education. As the organizer, I will be receiving the donations on behalf of the family and establishing a trust fund in Arlo’s name. The page has raised $218,930 so far.

James Simmons a person who said he worked with the victim commented on Mayor Rob Green’s Facebook page, writing: I worked with Tyler at TreviPay for 15 years. We were on the same team and good friends. Him and his family loved going on camping trips to hike and explore caves. He talked about how much Arlo and Lula loved it (which is rare for kids now days). The team always enjoyed the pictures and stories Tyler would show and tell when he got back. Tyler also talked about how much Arlo was liking his Lego team and also programming and how Arlo would have Tyler “QA” (quality assurance) his apps as he added more features (a process we know well from our work). My heart goes out to Arlo and the rest of his family. I am still in disbelief. He will be greatly missed.


Cover Image Source: GoFundMe